In such cases, the coupon distribution and validity server components of the system would belong to the entity that provides the coupons. Beginning with coupon distribution system , coupon distribution system distributes electronic coupons to mobile devices. The coupons may be distributed in response to a request from the mobile device or from a user of the mobile device who makes the request via the Internet, or can even be distributed as unsolicited messages to the mobile device. When a coupon is to be distributed, coupon package generator will generate an electronic package that represents the electronic coupon.
The electronic package is then sent to the Content Delivery Server The electronic package may contain the following:. A message is then sent to the mobile device via a message format such as SMS. Any other available messaging technique may of course be used.
The message may include a URL link to the package which was created. The user then clicks on this link and the package is downloaded to the mobile device In mobile device , the electronic coupon, represented by box , is manipulated by electronic wallet software Among the tasks performed by electronic wallet software are determining whether a given electronic coupon is valid and if it is, communicating the electronic coupon to the local point of sale system In some embodiments, the wallet may communicate the coupon to the local point of sale system by displaying the coupon's barcode on the mobile device's display screen so that the barcode can be read by scanner ; in others, it may use a wireless link in local communication point to provide the barcode to point of sale system When the coupon is displayed or otherwise provided to point of sale system , mobile device may receive immediate confirmation that point of sale system has successfully read the barcode.
If no such immediate confirmation is received, mobile device may obtain validity information from validity server that confirms the successful read. Once the barcode has been read, point of sale system treats it like any other barcode: it is used as necessary in the transaction being performed by the point of sale system and it is sent to a backend server belonging to the point of sale system so that the use of the coupon can be recorded. In the case of the electronic coupons of system , if the use of the coupon affects the coupon's validity, backend server reports use of the coupon to validity server , which may simply record the use or may itself determine whether the use has rendered the coupon invalid.
Returning to electronic wallet , electronic wallet will only communicate an electronic coupon 's barcode to point of sale system if electronic wallet has been able to determine that the electronic coupon is currently valid. Electronic wallet makes a validity determination for a given electronic coupon in response to any validity event known to electronic wallet A validity event is any event which may affect the validity of the given electronic coupon.
Beginning at start , the wallet waits for a validity event for a given electronic coupon When the event occurs, the wallet inhibits provision of the given electronic coupon's barcode to POS system At , the wallet checks whether the given coupon is currently valid. If the coupon's validity is known, i. Loop continues attempting to check the validity of the given coupon, with the intervals between attempts and the number of attempts made before the wallet gives up being determined from information in control data In branch , if the coupon is valid , , , the wallet again permits the coupon's barcode to be provided to POS system If the coupon is not valid, the wallet continues to inhibit provision of the barcode to POS system until the coupon is removed from the wallet or another validity event renders the coupon valid again.
Examples of validity events include but are not limited to. In most cases, electronic wallet can make a validity determination in response to a validity event at a time other than the moment the user selects to redeem the coupon, and consequently, validation may be separated from redemption and the redemption process need not be burdened by the time required for the validation process. Electronic wallet may also provide validity information to validity server Validity information from electronic wallet may further be used to check the validity information in validity server or vice-versa.
The information required for a validity event and the source of the information depend of course on the validity event. For example, mobile devices have clocks, and consequently, whether a time-related validity event has occurred can be determined by examining an electronic coupon's validity information and the time currently indicated by the mobile device's clock. With a location-related validity event, the coupon's validity information can contain a set of codes for valid locations and the user can input the code for the location where he or she is intending to provide the coupon to the barcode reading system to the mobile device.
If the location code does not match one of the codes in the set, the mobile device will not provide the barcode to the barcode reading system. Some mobile devices are of course aware of where they are, and in such mobile devices, the mobile device can check whether its current location is one of the permitted locations.
Fix Coupons.com Coupon Printing Issues
When the mobile device opens the package representing electronic coupon , the MIME type associated with the package opens electronic wallet application and provides the coupon's barcode, Control Data, and Additional Data to wallet application Electronic wallet contains 5 major components:. The sets of coupons may be implemented using any technique that divides the coupons into three distinct groups. Example implementations are flags associated with the coupons that indicate which of the sets a particular coupon belongs to and a linked list for each set of coupons.
When a coupon is placed into the wallet for the first time, it is placed in the set of coupons whose validity is unknown. This is the first validity event for the coupon. The wallet responds to validity event by checking the validity of the coupon. The validity check is done using the validity information for the coupon that is contained in control data In some cases, the check may involve validity server If the checks indicate that the coupon is valid, wallet places the coupon in set of coupons known to be valid.
Indicating to the Portable Device that the Barcode was Read. At this point, the barcode may be displayed by the end user only from wallet and only by display barcode function This operation will only initiate the display of barcodes from coupons belonging to set of coupons which the wallet knows to be valid. Execution of display barcode function is a validity event. Operation is the only operation that displays the actual barcode in readable form on the mobile device. In the case of implementations in which the barcode is provided to point of sale system by communications link , only operation will provide the barcode to the point of sale system.
This causes display barcode function to be executed. When the user executes this operation, mobile device displays the barcode to the barcode reader for scanning as shown in FIG. Because the execution is a validity event , validity test logic will move the coupon into the set of coupons whose validity is unknown. The coupon will remain in set until validity test logic has determined its validity. Where validity is conditioned on a successful read of the barcode as is the case, for example, with n-use coupons , validity test logic will use a confirmation from point of sale system in the validity check if the confirmation is available; otherwise, it will obtain information that confirms that the read was successful from validity server , as shown in flowchart in FIG.
At , the barcode displayed by mobile device is scanned; if the scan is not successful , it is repeated ; if it is successful, success is indicated locally by one or more of the mechanisms:. Revalidation of the Coupon: FIG. In the latter case, the validation event is the provision of the coupon's barcode to the point of sale system. This validation event is relevant to n-use coupons.
Each display and successful read of the coupon represents a use of the coupon. If the coupon is in set , validity test logic may attempt validation again later.
In some embodiments, the downloaded coupon may be assumed to be valid, in which case, step would be omitted and the coupon would be immediately placed in set Assuming the coupon is in set , as shown at , display barcode function displays the barcode This is the barcode display validity event, so the function places the coupon in set The information required for the validity check for this second validity event is whether the barcode was read by point of sale system l Wallet may determine whether the barcode was read either on the basis of information obtained locally from point of sale system or from validity server As shown at , if wallet is able to obtain a read confirmation locally, branch is taken; otherwise, branch is taken.
Wallet may receive local confirmation that the barcode was read in at least the following ways:. The revalidation may involve only information available in the wallet, may involve information obtained from point of sale system , may involve contacting validity server for current validity information about the coupon the barcode belongs to, or may involve information from a combination of these sources.
For example, if the display barcode function has received local confirmation that the barcode has been read and provides the confirmation to validity test logic , validity test logic can use that information to determine whether the coupon is still valid. If there is no local confirmation that the barcode has been read, validity test logic can wait for a period of time which permits the information that the barcode has been read to propagate from point of sale system via POS backend server to validity server and then can obtain the information from validity server The wait period may be part of control data or the validity test logic may determine the wait based on its experience with the length of time it takes for information belonging to a given class of coupon to be propagated to validity server It should be noted here that because validity server provides a source of validity information which is independent of the POS system, validity test logic may check the validity of coupons in wallet at any time, not just when the coupon is first received in electronic wallet or when the coupon has been communicated to the POS system.
Where server is being contacted, the wallet may periodically retry the process for the time period specified in the coupons Control Data The retries will be stopped once one of the following three conditions is met:. After display barcode function has provided the barcode to point of sale system and put the barcode's coupon into set , validity test logic requests an acknowledgment signal from POS system that POS system has read the barcode POS system receives the request at and provides the signal at If the validity test logic does not receive the acknowledgment, it tries again for a limited number of times.
Otherwise, it uses the acknowledgment to determine whether the coupon is still valid at decision block of FIG. When no local read confirmation is received, validity test logic requests validity info from validity server As shown at , if the validity information available on validity server permits the validity of the barcode's coupon to be determined, the validity is determined as shown beginning at block in FIG.
While display barcode function is the only function which will display a coupon's barcode in a fashion that is readable by scanner , there may be other functions in wallet which permit users to examine the coupons in each set of coupons. A coupon in a set may further have user-visible validation status information associated with it.
For example, the user-visible validation status information for an n-use coupon in set may indicate the number of uses remaining, while the user-visible status information for such a coupon in set may indicate that no uses remain and the user-visible status information for such a coupon in set may indicate that wallet is attempting to obtain the coupons current validity status from validity server The following is a detailed example of how the system described in FIG.
As already explained, an n-use coupon is one that may be used a fixed number of times and then becomes invalid. In the case of the n-use coupon, the validity event is provision of the coupon to a barcode reading system Because the use count for an n-use coupon will not change until it is again used, the validity check for a given use may be done at any time during the period of time between the given use and the next use and thus may be done separately from the provision of the barcode to the POS system. The first step is placing parameters for the n-use coupons on the server that is to distribute them.
At a minimum, the parameters will include the numbers for the coupons and the validity conditions for the coupons. For an n-use coupon, the validity conditions specify the number of times the coupon can be used. Once the promotion has started, a user makes a request via an SMS shortcode requesting that a particular coupon be returned to the mobile device. This SMS message could be in response to a specific SMS shortcode that is advertised in a broadcast medium such as radio, television, or billboards or is communicated by a telephone call, regular mail or email, or any other communication medium.
The Content Delivery Server would receive this request and send a message to Coupon Package Generator to assemble a package containing the requested coupon in graphic form along with its associated validity data. Each coupon has a unique barcode.
Once the package was assembled, it would be published to Content Delivery Server This returned SMS message would contain a link that the user could click on to download the package containing the electronic coupon coupon and optionally a link for the user to click to download electronic wallet program When the user clicks on the link in the SMS to download the coupon package, the coupon package would be downloaded from Content Delivery Server to mobile device and provided to electronic wallet program Wallet will then place the coupon in the set of coupons whose validity is not known.
Wallet then uses validity test logic to determine the current validity of the coupon. In some cases, all the information necessary will be contained in the coupon's control data ; in other cases, validity test logic may have to obtain validity information from validity server If validity test logic determines that the coupon is valid, it goes into set of coupons known to be currently valid ; if validity test logic determines that the coupon is not valid, it is discarded or goes into set of coupons known to be invalid.
Otherwise, it remains in set of coupons whose current validity is unknown. When validity test logic initially determines the validity of an n-use coupon, it associates a counter with the n-use coupon and sets the counter's value to max-no-of-uses. While the coupon is displayed, the wallet places it into the set of coupons whose validity is currently unknown preventing it from being displayed again , and the store clerk scans the cell phone display with a barcode scanner.
While the coupon is displayed, the wallet attempts to confirm that the barcode has been accurately read. If the wallet receives the confirmation, it removes the barcode from the display on the mobile device. Validity test logic then decrements the coupon's use count. If the use count has reached 0, the coupon is invalid and validity test logic places it in set of coupons known to be invalid; if it has not yet reached 0, the coupon is still valid and validity test logic places it in set of coupons known to be valid. If there is no confirmation that the barcode was read, the wallet waits for a period of time and then removes the coupon from the display.
Next, after a period that it deems sufficient for information about the read to reach validity server via POS backend server and then attempts to perform a remote validation. The wallet sends a validation request to the validity server. What is in the request and how validity server responds depends on the design of validity server At a minimum, the request will require the coupon's barcode. The validity server may respond by indicating whether the coupon is valid or invalid or that it doesn't know or may respond by returning all of the validity information it has regarding the coupon, leaving it up to the wallet to determine validity, or may do something in between with regard both to the information it requires from the wallet and the information it returns to the wallet.
The request may also specify the amount of time to continue to attempt to determine whether the coupon is still valid. If the wallet is unable to contact the validity Server, it will periodically re-check the validity Server for an updated status. This processes repeats periodically for the amount of time specified in the Control Data. If at the end of this time period, the electronic wallet is not able to i contact the control server, or ii obtain the information needed to determine validity from the validity Server, then the coupon is left in the set of coupons whose current validity is unknown and the update process ceases.
A validity status message associated with the coupon may indicate why the coupon's validity is unknown. If the wallet receives information from validity server that indicates that the coupon is valid, and then it moves the coupon into the set of coupons known to be valid; if the information indicates that the coupon is invalid, then it moves the coupon into the set of coupons known to be invalid, as described above.
It should be further pointed out here that validity events can be employed in environments other than mobile devices. For example, validity events could be used to restrict the use of coupons downloaded to PCs in the same fashion as described above for mobile devices, except that the result of a coupon becoming invalid would be that the PC would no longer be able to print it. Prior art has suggested mechanisms for locking executable files, music, audio, and images to a particular phone as part of a Digital Rights Management scheme.
Using DRM, publishers of electronic information can prevent end-users from transferring their content from one phone to another. A major problem with this type of DRM is that end users often wish to share coupons which may be represented by barcodes or applications that display barcodes with other end users, but coupon issuers do not wish to allow person to person sharing unless they obtain information about the individual to whom the code is being transferred, such as a phone number or other opt-in information. What is needed, and what is provided by the present invention, is techniques for the controlled sharing of electronic coupons.
The main components of system are coupon distribution system , a first mobile device such as a cellular telephone or a PDA, and a second mobile device such as a cellular telephone or a PDA. Among the tasks performed by electronic wallet software are determining whether a given electronic coupon is valid, determining if the coupon can be shared, and enabling an end user to share the coupon. In some embodiments, the wallet may communicate the coupon to the local point of sale system by displaying the coupon's barcode on the mobile device's display screen so that the barcode can be read by scanner It is important to note that the coupon's barcode can only be output by the electronic wallet application.
An electronic coupon is output from a mobile device or other device when it is made available either directly or indirectly to a barcode reader. While we're your local packing and shipping experts, we do much more. The UPS Store is your local print shop in , providing professional printing services to market your small business or to help you complete your personal project or presentation. We offer secure mailbox and package acceptance services, document shredding, office and mailing supplies, faxing, scanning and more. Everything for your small business, even shipping.
Areas Served Lebanon, TN. Languages Spoken English.
OUR $225/MO. GROCERY BUDGET: WHAT I SPENT & SAVED (8/20-8/26)
Store Services We've got you covered. Printing Products Printing Products. Printing Services Printing Services. Mailbox Services Mailbox Services. Mailing Services Mailing Services. Shipping Services Shipping Services. Packing Services Packing Services. Freight Freight. Store ID Provide Email. Are you a small business owner? Yes No. You can unsubscribe at any time. The printer was designed to track who was printing coupons, which coupons you printed, and how many coupons had been printed so as not to exceed print limits. And have you ever tried to uninstall that thing?! Talk about a pain.
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