Apple wins Passbook-like, NFC-driven 'iTravel' patent

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday officially awarded Apple ownership of its "iTravel" concept for e-ticketing with an NFC-equipped iPhone.

U.S. Patent No. 8,215,546, entitled "System and Method for Transportation Check-In," was granted to Apple this week. First filed with the USPTO in 2008, the invention describes a system for ticketing and identification via near-field communications on a portable device like an iPhone.

"The handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application," the patent reads. "Various methods may be employed to acquire the reservation and identification information on the handheld device."

In one example, users can make travel reservations via the so-called "iTravel" application. Similar data can also be automatically retrieved from an e-mail, a website, another NFC-enabled device, or a carrier-provided confirmation number.

The system could also identify a user by scanning a radio frequency identification tag embedded in a government-issued ID, like a passport. An ID number can also be entered via the travel management application, prompting the "iTravel" application to download the user's identification information from the issuing authority.

Patent


Illustrations that accompany the patent show an iPhone equipped with a near-field communications chip. The iTravel application is depicted with an icon of an airplane on the iOS home screen.

The iTravel concept is a more full-featured implementation of Apple's new Passbook application, which will be part of iOS 6 when it launches this fall. Unveiled in June, Passbook organizes various items like movie or sporting event tickets, store membership cards, and airplane boarding passes.

Passbook will feature geolocation with the iPhone, allowing users to automatically have the appropriate card pulled up when they visit a specific location. For example, when a user goes to Starbucks, they will see their membership card available to scan.

Passbook


The unveiling of Passbook has prompted speculation that Apple plans to add a near-field communications chip to its anticipated sixth-generation iPhone, expected to debut this fall. With wireless NFC capabilities, Apple's next iPhone could serve as an e-wallet and e-ticketing device.

Apple has been rumored for years to include NFC technology in a future iPhone, but to date no iPhone models have included an integrated NFC chip. Competing handsets, like Google's Nexus S, have included NFC chips, but e-wallet payments have yet to take off with services like Google Wallet.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,293member
    Meanwhile Google files very similar patents as fast as it can read Apple's filings ...
  • Reply 2 of 24


    based on "Google Now", Google should already know you checked in and what you want to buy and drink before you even sit down. I forget what year Google crossed the creepy line, but they are light years beyond it now.

  • Reply 3 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    It's interesting that they would name the product in the patent. Do they even own the iTravel trademark?

    I'm guessing that the scope of the patent, as far as I can tell, far exceeds simple ticketing and is the platform for all secure communication that includes but is not limited to payments.

    I'd think iPay would be better overall. Is there a more encompassing term that starts with an i? iSwipe? Usually I'm against the whole i-nomenclature but I'm actually okay with it as a feature, just not as a HW product.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    based on "Google Now", Google should already know you checked in and what you want to buy and drink before you even sit down. I forget what year Google crossed the creepy line, but they are light years beyond it now.

    Passbook does the same thing. Your iDevice location gets updated and when your enter a geofence for a given store in Passbook that "card" will be available on your system without you having to dig around for the app it originates from.
  • Reply 5 of 24


    Yaaaay, something else they can go to court over. Am i the only one that's sick to death of these patent posts? They're not worth the paper they're printed on, any more.

  • Reply 6 of 24
    ismofamismofam Posts: 41member


    I like the idea behind Passbook. I hope it will replace my wallet and that more businesses get behind it. My local Public Library book checkout however does not work with bar codes on the phone's screen, and they demand you have a physical (plastic) card.

     

  • Reply 7 of 24
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IsmOfAm View Post


    I like the idea behind Passbook. I hope it will replace my wallet and that more businesses get behind it. My local Public Library book checkout however does not work with bar codes on the phone's screen, and they demand you have a physical (plastic) card.

     



     


    Realistically, it will not replace your wallet.


     


    You would still need to carry a wallet around with government issued identification as well as a credit/debit card for merchants who do not support NFC transactions, and maybe even cash. San Francisco's best dive bars don't take cards, nor do most of the vendors at the local farmers' markets. There are a bunch of noodle shops, taquerias and other mom-and-pop restaurants around here that are cash-only too.


     


    However, it should lighten your wallet considerably and reduce the number of times you need to pull it out.

  • Reply 8 of 24
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    I can't seem to get the barcode reader at the grocery store checkout to read images of barcodes displayed on my iPhone screen.

  • Reply 9 of 24
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    However, it should lighten your wallet considerably ...



    Owning multiple iOS devices has lightened my wallet already. image

  • Reply 10 of 24
    h2ph2p Posts: 264member


    This patent was filed 4 years ago. I like the idea of the "iPay" suggestion. Just wish that Apple would have thought of it in 2008.

  • Reply 11 of 24
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    overstim wrote: »
    Yaaaay, something else they can go to court over.

    Why do you care? It's Apple's right. In fact, it's anyone's right.

    It's got nothing to do with the speed of your iPad or your access to apps in the App Store.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,336member


    It's all well and good that other companies are coming out with NFC solutions, but the question is... do they have a patent on these technologies? If Apple filed this patent in 2008, they they were working on this well before anyone else presumably which means once again, Google and others who didn't do this properly are going to be hurting. That's just the way the system works.

  • Reply 13 of 24

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    "The handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application," the patent reads. "Various methods may be employed to acquire the reservation and identification information on the handheld device."




     


    Wow, I have been storing and transmitting travel information for years through multiple different applications.  I guess my definition of transmitting is broader than NFC.  There was an NFC travel application built into the Nokia 6131 back in 2007, however NFC readers were not prevelent back then (or even now).  I wonder if this patent means that United Airlines can't continue to provide their travel application that currently has boarding pass functionality and probably soon to be integrated with NFC.

  • Reply 14 of 24
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jkichline View Post


    It's all well and good that other companies are coming out with NFC solutions, but the question is... do they have a patent on these technologies? If Apple filed this patent in 2008, they they were working on this well before anyone else presumably which means once again, Google and others who didn't do this properly are going to be hurting. That's just the way the system works.



    The NFC Forum was established in 2004 by Nokia, Sony and others. There are a set of standards in place for compliance ISO/IEC 14443. It uses similar technology to RFID. The applications used to interface with the chips are what Apple is working on and presumably working around other existing patents. This is all really trivial and many campaniles will offer variations. This type of patent is not really defensible. 

  • Reply 15 of 24
    quashquash Posts: 23member


    As soon as I get my hands on an NFC capable phone, I will be supporting any merchant supporting this technology

  • Reply 16 of 24
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member


    Ok sounds good. I want to try it out. 

  • Reply 17 of 24
    First time I think AI published this patent award article w/o naming the original patent designers/applicants like they normally do....
  • Reply 18 of 24


    here we go again.. "Various methods"? Really, another broad claim. it is like saying "all methods of doing this shit is our patent now"


    I love the products, hate the patent trolling. One day we may just call Apple the lawsuit company.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    here we go again.. "Various methods"? Really, another broad claim. it is like saying "all methods of doing this shit is our patent now"

    Nope. It's like saying 'various methods'. This is law here; what it says is what it is.
    I love the products, hate the patent trolling. One day we may just call Apple the lawsuit company.

    You don't know what patent trolling is.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday officially awarded Apple ownership of its "iTravel" concept for e-ticketing with an NFC-equipped iPhone.

     


    This patent doesn't appear to be very broad.  Claim 1 requires retrieving a photograph from the mobile device and verifying the user's identity using the photograph.  This patent is nothing to write home about.  I haven't seen a boarding pass app that even uses this technology.  Since Apple has a patent on this, I assume others won't bother implementing it.

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