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System and method for providing publicly vended content via a wireless network

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Title: System and method for providing publicly vended content via a wireless network.
Abstract: A system and method for vending digitized content over an Internet network path, at least a portion of which is wireless, such as an SDMA high data rate directional wireless path. Content in the form of IP packets is provided to a user terminal via a connect server in response to user requests, which can be real-time requests or which can be requests embodied in a user-defined or system-defined user profile. The user is billed using one or more of several billing paradigms, including by the content piece, by the number of IP packets sent to the user, by the length of time the user accesses the system, by the subscription, and so on. ...


Inventors: Satoru Yukie, Gina C. Eubanks, Ken Aoki
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120066102 - Class: 705 34 (USPTO) - 03/15/12 - Class 705 
Data Processing: Financial, Business Practice, Management, Or Cost/price Determination > Automated Electrical Financial Or Business Practice Or Management Arrangement >Accounting >Bill Preparation

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120066102, System and method for providing publicly vended content via a wireless network.

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RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from the following U.S. provisional applications, as filed Feb. 8, 2000: Ser. Nos. 60/180,990, 60/180,987, 60/180,985, 60/181,148, 60/181,144, 60/181,145, 60/180,992, 60/180,991, 60/181,105, 60/181,128, 60/180,988, 60/181,147, 60/181,127, 60/180,984, 60/180,993, and from the following U.S. provisional application Ser. Nos. ______ (filed Mar. 22, 2000 under U.S. Express Mail label no. EL192413153US) and Ser. No. ______ (filed Mar. 27, 2000 under U.S. Express Mail label no. EL030392800US).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to vending digitized content via wireless networks.

2. Description of the Related Art

Most digitized content such as music, videos, games, and the like currently is sold in disk or tape format at retail outlets or based on catalogue orders or online orders. A disk or tape player can then be used to play the content. Other content is televised over cable channels that can be subscribed to, with payment for the content being based on a subscription service. Broadcast content, that is, wireless content, typically is not billed to the user, since use of the content by the user cannot be established. Such broadcast content consequently is subsidized by advertisers.

Accordingly, to buy publicly vended content, a user can purchase the content on a disk, which requires the user either to order the content and then wait for delivery or travel to a retail outlet. This is time consuming and consequently reduces the sales volume that content providers might otherwise achieve. Alternatively, the user can establish a subscription account for cable delivery, but this requires the installation of hardwired infrastructure, and it precludes the use of mobile, wireless devices.

The present invention, in critically observing the above-noted considerations relating to current models of vending content, has made further critical observations to develop the network-based, wireless content provision paradigm disclosed herein. Specifically, the present invention understands that personal computing devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and the like have become ubiquitous. Along with this, instant worldwide computer communication has become available via the Internet. This juxtaposition of technologies has spawned thousands of new computer-driven opportunities to serve both consumers and content providers.

The present invention still further recognizes that unfortunately, in many cases Internet network data transfer rates are relatively low. Most personal computers, for example, currently have Internet data transfer rates of less than 100 kbps, making the vending of certain types of data, such as video, less than satisfactory over the Internet. Moreover, personal computers typically are connected to the Internet via telephone lines or fiber optic lines, meaning that the computers cannot be transported while connected to the Internet. Further, since the computers must be connected to hard-wired lines, cumbersome and costly line installation is required.

In the case of most wireless network paths, the data rates are relatively slow, and moreover the network paths are not continuous. That is, to establish a wireless network path, a user has had to dial up the wireless network and establish a connection through a telephony switch. This renders impractical applications that require continuous, high data rate, wireless network paths. The present invention recognizes the above-noted problems and provides the solutions disclosed herein, as well as various applications that take advantage of these solutions.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

A general purpose computer is programmed according to the inventive steps herein. The invention can also be embodied as an article of manufacture—a machine component—that is used by a digital processing apparatus and which tangibly embodies a program of instructions that are executable by the digital processing apparatus to execute the present logic. This invention is realized in a critical machine component that causes a digital processing apparatus to perform the inventive method steps herein.

The invention can be implemented by a computer system including a computer network path, at least a portion of which is wireless. A user terminal is in the path, and a connect server communicates with the user terminal, with the connect server receiving requests for content generated from the user terminal and accessing a database of publicly vended content to fulfill the requests. A billing module is accessible to the connect server for generating accounting data based on the provision of the content in the database to users. Preferably, a portion of the network path is a directional wireless path that has no telephony switches therein, and the content is provided to the user terminal over the network in IP packets.

In a preferred embodiment, the billing module generates accounting data based on each request received. Alternatively, at least some requests can be embodied in a content subscription, and the billing module generates accounting data based on the subscription. As set forth in greater detail below, the subscription is established at least in part by a user profile. Still further, the billing module can generate accounting data based on a number of packets delivered to the user terminal, and/or based on at least one time period, and/or based on a type of the user terminal.

In another aspect, a method for vending content includes rendering the content in a digitized format, and making the content available on a computer network. The method further includes establishing at least one network path between the network and a user terminal, at least a portion of which is wireless. The content is sent to the user terminal via the network path, and accounting data representative of the provision of content to the user terminal is generated.

In still another aspect, a computer program device includes a computer program storage device that is readable by a digital processing apparatus. A program is on the program storage device. The program includes instructions that can be executed by the digital processing apparatus. The instructions include computer readable code means for billing a user for the provision of digitized packetized audio or video content from the Internet via a wireless network path to a user terminal associated with the user.

The details of the present invention, both as to its structure and operation, can best be understood in reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts, and in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing the system of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a flow chart showing the network logic of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a flow chart showing the platform logic; and

FIG. 4 is a flow chart showing the subscription logic.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120066102 A1
Publish Date
03/15/2012
Document #
13222464
File Date
08/31/2011
USPTO Class
705 34
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
/
Drawings
2




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