Keeping Up with the Joneses

Mark Kapczynski’s new patent has the interesting title “Keeping Up with the Joneses.”  U.S. Patent No. 10,019,508.  It is basically a computers system that gamifies your life — comparing your life score to those of your neighbors, co-workers, or others. And, check out claim 1 that will fill several screens on your PC. This new patent is part of a family — see the parent U.S. Patent No. 9,576,030.

The Examiner rejected the claims as being directed toward an abstract idea, but the applicant was able to argue around that rejection.

1. A server computing system for providing user comparison information to a user, the server computing system comprising:

a demographic database storing demographic attributes associated with a plurality of users;

a non-transitory computer readable storage device configured to store software instructions;

a computer processor configured to execute the software instructions to:

serve a website or mobile application content including user interface content renderable on a user computing device, wherein the user interface content comprises dynamic user interface controls for

identification information of the user,

presenting identification information of a comparison individual, and

presenting a first category of demographic attributes and a second category of demographic attributes, wherein the first category of demographic attributes comprises first demographic attributes and the second category of demographic attributes comprises second demographic attributes;

communicate the website or mobile application content to the user computing device, wherein the user computing device renders the website or mobile application content to display the user interface content;

receive the identification information of the user, wherein the identification information is inputted via the dynamic user interface controls on the user computing device;

access first demographic data of the user from the demographic database based on the identification information, the first demographic data comprising data associated with the user in the first category of demographic attributes and associated with the user in the second category of demographic attributes;

access second demographic data of the comparison individual from the demographic database, the second demographic data comprising data associated with the comparison individual in the first category of demographic attributes and associated with the comparison individual in the second category of demographic attributes;

access a data structure storing information regarding most favorable levels of the first category of demographic attributes and the second category of demographic attributes, wherein for the first category of demographic attributes, the data structure indicates that higher numerical values of the first demographic attributes are more favorable and for the second category of demographic attributes, the data structure indicates that lower numerical values of the second demographic attributes are more favorable;

compare first values of the first demographic attributes in the first category of demographic attributes associated with the user with second values of the first demographic attributes in the first category of demographic attributes associated with the comparison individual to determine which of either the user or the comparison individual has a most favorable level associated with the first category;

compare third values of the second demographic attributes in the second category of demographic attributes associated with the user with fourth values of the second demographic attributes in the second category of demographic attributes associated with the comparison individual to determine which of either the user or the comparison individual has a most favorable level associated with the second category;

serve an updated website or mobile application content including updated user interface content including:

a first comparison result of the first category of demographic attributes wherein the first comparison result is generated based on comparisons between first demographic attributes of the user and the first demographic attributes of the comparison individual,

a second comparison result of the second category of demographic attributes wherein the second comparison result is generated based on comparisons between second demographic attributes of the user and the second demographic attributes of the comparison individual, and

a visual indication of which of the user or the comparison individual is associated with the most favorable level for the first category or the most favorable level for the second category; and

communicate the updated website or mobile application content to the user computing device, wherein the updated website or mobile application content is renderable by the user computing device to display the updated user interface content.

25 thoughts on “Keeping Up with the Joneses

  1. 7

    I have been shopping for a new car lately, and I have visited a lot of websites which allow you to compare the attributes of 2 different car models. So I know the ordered combination of:

    Select 2 entities from a database of entities
    Select 1 or more sets of attributes of the entities
    Compare the selected set of attributes
    Display a visual indication of which is higher scoring

    is certainly well known in the art of automobile comparison websites.

    If you take the claim above and replace
    ‘demographic’ with ‘entity’
    ‘user’ with ‘first entity’
    ‘individual’ with ‘second entity’
    you end up with a claim which would apply to dozen of different comparison websites.

    Given that the ordered combination of steps exists already for some data entities, shouldn’t it be considered obvious to apply them to a specific data entity?

    It seems like an obvious use of the existing ordered combination of steps.

    Presumably you cannot not claim using an existing milling process to grind a new species of wheat when the existing process is completely unchanged. Why would data in a computer be different? Of course the implementation of the comparison in code is different for every different kind of information, but I did not see any details claimed here.

    1. 7.1

      May be a good 103 argument can be presented. You seem to have a good start there.

      Oddly, one of the problems with information processing is that it had such a horrendous start with Benson. Benson’s rationale for trying to exclude information processing patents was that the PTO did not have enough prior art. This set up a really weird situation where the PTO has never really tried to set up a new structure for examining information processing patent applications.

      I don’t completely agree with your reasoning, but the reasoning of applying algorithms and having examiners examine based on algorithms is the right one. The reason the PTO never did this is Benson and the anti-patent judicial activists who have always promised that just around the corner all those applications will be ineligible.

      Anyway, there is a long story here.

    2. 7.2

      And the reason that an algorithm approach was not adopted was that Benson was saying that algorithms are pre se not eligible.

      You see? It is quite a mess and it is the result of the judicial activist that fabricated nonsense.

  2. 6

    Notice again that 1) we see personal assessments of the invention that are used as a basis for patentability. 2) the way the system is supposed to work is with no hindsight, prior art, and reasons to combine. Additionally, the way it works is that a person may invent something and they have to invest capital or get capital. The market then decides whether it is a good invention.

    The little wan kies that are trying to make-up for their lack of having accomplished anything in the real world should hold their tongues.

  3. 5

    Two points: 1) The foundation of innovation is that the innovator should decided what to make. They need to find capital and then the market decides if it was worthwhile. 2) A person’s assessment of how good the invention is should be a factor in patentability or eligibility.

    The human condition. The little wankies that have never done anything in their lives want to judge and control the do’ers. Always been that way. That is why our patent system was set up to try to prevent the little wankies from making their subjective little opinions determine the outcome of patentability.

  4. 4

    This is somewhat tongue in cheek, but does explain why this is an abstract idea –

    The checkmark is next to Married and not Single

    Also, the checkmark is next to three children, for a single person that makes $40k

    In other words, the claim is directed to obtaining information, comparing it, and then assigning *some value* to the comparison, even though its clear that some embodiments of that assignment have no bearing in reality at all.

    1. 4.1

      Having children is a competition! Didn’t you know this? Especially if you’re making those blond blue-eyed white children which is how you Make Merka Great Again in the Repu k k ke universe.

      I’ve already filed my application on keeping up with the Jetson’s, by the way. Earth-based tech is soooooo 2010.

    2. 4.2

      “But keeping up with the joneses is not a conventional mental act”

      Remember when Trump said he invented the phrase “Priming the Pump”?

      1. 4.2.1

        Remember when Trump said he invented the phrase “Priming the Pump”?

        He never made such a claim according to New History and “anon” is going to tattle on you for getting off topic.

        1. 4.2.1.1

          If you have to “worry” about me tattling on you, maybe you should not be posting at all.

  5. 3

    “Data structures” are not structures.

    And this claim is pure garbage.

    Collect data, generate more data from the collected data, compare it, communicate it. That’s junk. Details are irrelevant in the absence of any novel physical structure or a new transformation of matter.

    1. 3.1

      absence of any novel physical structure or a new transformation of matter.

      Did you miss the Supreme Court 9-0 decision (even with a broken scoreboard) that stated that Machine or Transformation was not a legal requirement?

      You seem to keep on trying to nullify that statement and pretend that the law is something that it is not (and you do not even bother to draw attention to anything actually being broken in your statement of what is not in fact necessary).

      1. 3.1.1

        Did you miss the Supreme Court 9-0 decision (even with a broken scoreboard) that stated that Machine or Transformation was not a legal requirement?

        Bilski said it wasn’t the sole legal test. But the Court confirmed that the test itself is useful and the lack of a machine or transformation provides an important clue to subject matter ineligibility. It could be the only clue in many many many instances! In which case you’re sc r e w ed. And that’s often been the case in reality (where you rarely venture, because you’re a know-nothing glibertarian t u r d brain).

        In short, the Bilski court was addressing a very specific question.

        I won. You lost. You only need to look at the subsequent decisions to understand that fact, Billy.

        And you’re going to keep l osing, by the way. Cuz that’s what l 0 sers like you do.

        Now go assault a woman and cry about it later like your buddy Brett who you refuse to criticize because you’re a mis 0gynist enabling pile of dog cr @p.

        1. 3.1.1.1

          That is expressly not what Bilski said.

          Try again.

          1. 3.1.1.1.1

            (… cutting through your snowstorm and returning to my point about what you initially state as if THAT is a legal requirement — yes, the fact that it IS “just a clue” should clue you in, but obviously, you still want to prevaricate).

            1. 3.1.1.1.1.1

              the fact that it IS “just a clue”

              Just like a giant bullet hole in a person’s head is a “just a clue” that the person was shot in the head with a gun.

              1. 3.1.1.1.1.1.1

                Just like…

                No.

                Not at all.

                For a supposed attorney, you show an extreme difficulty in understanding when something is a legal requirement and when something is not a legal requirement.

                Given how very basic this capabilit is, one can — and should — consider that you are intentionally dissembling on this point.

    2. 3.2

      Transformation of matter? Where do you get that the transformation must be of matter?

      1. 3.2.1

        Where do you get that the transformation must be of matter?

        If your claim doesn’t recite a new physical structure in structural terms, and you are not transforming a composition of matter into some other composition, then what on earth is being transformed? The ether? Flogiston? Your moving a comma from one part of a sentence to another? Doing math on a number?

        Grow up, please. Programming is a skill. So is writing a cookbook. But neither are patent-worthy within the confines of our existing system. [shrugs]

        1. 3.2.1.1

          … you have to try hard to be that wrong, Malcolm.

  6. 2

    This has to be the worst idea ever. Looks like assignee is affiliated with with the corporate equivalent of a sewage pit that is Experian.

    1. 2.1

      You shouldn’t impune sewer pits by equating them with Experian.

      1. 2.1.1

        I humbly apologize to all sewage pits everywhere for my insensitive remarks.

  7. 1

    Given that this (or any) “software” claim could be written out “long-hand” into an “objective physical structure” claim — such as, for example, the objective physical description of “hills and valleys” of an encoded disc — one wonders how many tens (or hundreds) of “fill[ed] __ screens on your PC” such an optional claim format would be.

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