An Apple patent (number 7,959,065) for custom content gift cards has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. It’s for a customized gift card and methods for customizing the gift card with buyer-selected downloadable content.
Per the patent, a buyer may associate pre-purchased downloadable content with a gift card such that the card is “preloaded” for a recipient. The recipient may then redeem the customized gift card and download or access the pre-purchased content. The customized gift card may also include a buyer-selected image and/or personalized message on the face of the card. Alternatively, the customized gift card may have a generic design.
Various methods are provided for producing the cards and selecting the downloadable content, including purchasing the card online and having it delivered; buying a generic card and associating content with it online; and purchasing and preloading the card at a dispenser, or kiosk. The inventors are Michael Rosenblatt, Gloria Lin, Taido Nakajima, Sean Mayo and Andrew Hodge.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Certain aspects of embodiments disclosed herein by way of example are summarized below. It should be understood that these aspects are presented merely to provide the reader with a brief summary of certain forms an invention disclosed and/or claimed herein might take and that these aspects are not intended to limit the scope of any invention disclosed and/or claimed herein. Indeed, any invention disclosed and/or claimed herein may encompass a variety of aspects that may not be set forth below.
“Accordingly, the present disclosure describes customized gift cards and methods for acquiring such cards. A customized gift card may be purchased online or in a store and “preloaded” with buyer-selected downloadable content. Exemplary downloadable content may include music, videos, applications, video games, website subscriptions, podcasts, ringtones, links, and so forth. The customized gift card may be associated with the buyer-selected downloadable content via a unique identifier (e.g., a redemption code) or a pointer embedded in the card (e.g., using a radio frequency identification tag, magnetic stripe, or two-dimensional barcode).
“In addition to the ‘preloaded’ content, the gift card itself may be customized. That is, the buyer may select one or more images to appear on the face of the card. The images may be cover art (e.g., album covers, movie covers, etc.), stock images, or personalized images (e.g., uploaded photos).
“After the buyer has selected the downloadable content to associate with the customized gift card, the content may be paid for such that a recipient is able to download the content upon redemption of the card. Redemption may include, for example, entering the unique identifier at an online prompt, or initiating the pointer via a hardware trigger. The recipient may then download the buyer-selected content and/or exchange it for alternative content.”
— Dennis Sellers