Can you patent happy hour?
Yes, you can, sort of, but it is not what you think. Patent number 8,180,852 has been granted for a “virtual happy hour” that offers discounted products on gaming and social networking sites at designated times.
The patent was filed by technology entrepreneur Bill Lee as an “apparatus for increasing social interaction over an electronic network. The technology will allow companies to market themselves by sponsoring a happy hour deal online. For example, a Las Vegas hotel could sponsor discounts on virtual chips on an online casino website.
The Patent describes the system in greater detail. The happy hour system “monitors for a user input requesting initiation of a happy hour, and when the input is detected, modifies the webpages to alert users of the happy hour. The users are notified of which user initiated the happy hour, and are also notified that interaction incentives accumulate at an increased rate during the happy hour. The system also tracks user scorings that accumulate based on the user interaction, and enables certain website features based on these user scorings. The system also tracks ratings for user-uploaded objects and identifies top rated objects for displaying on webpages viewable by other users.”
Lee also predicts that retailers such as Wal-Mart could also use social networks to advertise happy hours in their stores. “The concept works really well on virtual inventory. For those of us old enough, this could be the virtual equivalent of K-Marts blue light special.
You could also apply the technology to an offline setting, Lee says, “people might get a note on Twitter saying certain items at Wal-Mart are available at a 50 percent discount thanks to company X that sponsored the happy hour.”
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– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +