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Bill Gates seeking patent for advertising program

I don’t write a lot about Microsoft patent applications, as they’re often so vague that guessing their true intent is an effort in futility. But when it’s Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ name on the application, things get a little more interesting.

Gates and a Microsoft researcher applied for a patent in March 2006 for a advertising system that would use customer points to confirm transactions. (Thanks to Todd Bishop with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for the patent link.)

The patent abstract:

“The claimed subject matter can provide a mechanism that facilitates a new advertising and/or referral architecture in the Internet advertising space, e.g., for advertising on search engine web pages and/or on content web pages. A mechanism is provided to confirm transactions even without monitoring them e.g., by issuing perishable, non-redeemable points to a merchant based upon an advertising budget. The points can then be issued as redeemable points to a customer, e.g., based upon the customer makes a purchase from the merchant. Points transferred to the customer can verify that a transaction occurred, and can be redeemed for products/services, including a convenient ‘micro-payment’ mechanism.

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