Patent News | "Apple Wins Patent for Robust, NFC-Capable Shopping App"

By: Christina Bonnington
Category: Patent News

Apple was granted a patent for a shopping-list app on Tuesday, underscoring the company’s possible entry into the mobile payment and NFC space. United States Patent No. 8,239,276, “On-the-go shopping list,” isn’t unlike shopping apps already out there — in fact, the patent describes how it could aggregate information from other shopping list apps. The technology described would let you create an electronic shopping list by scanning specific products, and provide data like price, product quality, and consumer ratings. The app would also let you split up a shopping list based on which retailers are selling the items you are interested in.

A barcode scanner on the rear of an Apple electronic device.

The electronic device used with the shopping list app would actually have a barcode scanner on the back, or include NFC technology to let the device identify products that have embedded RFID tags. The app could also let you compare retail prices of a product from several outlets, something Google Shopper and other apps currently do.

Another embodiment in the patent describes how you could scan items to your list in the store, and then check out electronically.

Apple has applied for, and been issued, a number of patents relating to NFC technology over the past few years, fueling reports and rumors of a robust iWallet system. Indeed, by the state of technology today, it would seem this NFC-enabled iWallet isn’t too far off from becoming a reality, particularly when you factor in Apple’s stepping-stone app Passbook, which will be debuting with iOS 6 in the fall.