Title:
Uniqueness products acquisition system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A uniqueness products acquisition system includes a computer-implemented system for customers of all ages to acquire a wide variety of products and be reasonably assured they are the only one or one of a select number with that product in a defined geographic area, subject to inventory control mechanisms and other means, thereby creating absolute or varying levels of uniqueness. According to the approach, customers select their defined geographic area. The customer then selects an item (“brands”) for the selected defined geographic area using a variety of selection/category search criteria. Next, the customer builds the product via a variety of means. Finally, the customer buys the product, potentially under circumstances which ensures their ownership, yet maintaining their anonymity. Further, ownership of the selected item/product is guaranteed for life subject to the restrictions defined by the initial contract between the customer and provider. The contract serves to guarantee a minimum performance by the provider and enhanced value for the customer.



Inventors:
Trew, Jack (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/496878
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
07/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06Q30/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PALAVECINO, KATHLEEN GAGE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jack Trew (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. Uniqueness product/services system comprising a telecommunications network wherein people purchase input personal information and the system determines their uniqueness area; further determining the availability of product and services in that uniqueness area; further permitting people to build/choose features, styles, and customizations; further permitting buying through a variety of means; further controlling the process to ensure people remain unique to some defined degree; and further permitting people to participate by offering their art, products, and services in the system. The system of claim 1 wherein a uniqueness product/services storage facility/switch that stores information such as customer information, customer preferences information, customer purchasing information, accounting information, and the like; The system of claim 1 wherein a Uniqueness Area (Homearea) product/services facility/switch comprised of a uniqueness area database comprised of uniqueness area latitude and longitude coordinates, postal codes, addresses, and/or other identification information; The system of claim 1 wherein a uniqueness brand product/services facility/switch comprised of a uniqueness brand database comprised of product, feature, availability, and/or other information; The system of claim 1 wherein a uniqueness styles inventory parameters database(s) defining the variety of features available for defining uniqueness features during inquiries, purchases, and so forth; The system of claim 1 wherein a rules, guidance, administrative database whereby a variety of rules, conditions, and other information may be defined to govern and adjust the Homearea, Availability, and building of uniqueness products for past, present, and future transactions; The system of claim 1 wherein a Homearea facility/switch which connects and determines customer location information in relation to the uniqueness area database, product information database; and/or other databases; The system of claim 1 wherein a product availability facility/switch capability which determines product availability within a given Homearea relative to rules, conditions, and other guidance regarding a given uniqueness product; The system of claim 1 wherein a uniqueness BUILDING facility/switch connecting a Homearea-certain customer to available product, available brands, available styles, subject to procedures for acquiring value, and additional uniqueness enhancement tools for customers to create uniqueness; The system of claim 1 wherein a buying facility/switch facilitating a variety of means for people to acquire products/services from their Homearea; The system of claim 1 wherein a product controls system for ensuring uniqueness product/services purchases are managed according to contractual requirements and following rules, guidance, administrative database whereby a variety of rules, conditions, and other information may be applied to govern and adjust the Homearea, Availability, and building of uniqueness products for past, present, and future transactions; The system of claim 1 wherein a art submissions and/or product submission facility/switch whereby people can provide product and services serving the Uniqueness Product/services system.

2. A method for establishing a uniqueness product/services system comprised of a variety of steps including storing key information at facilities including customer, product, features, and enhancement choices; receiving various kinds of information, determining uniqueness areas, brand availability, features/styles availability, uniqueness product/service building; receiving artwork, products, and items for inclusion into the system; and and responding to inputs with controls. The method of claim 2 wherein information is stored for defining a uniqueness product/services inquiry, purchase, or other transaction, said information including at least an email address, name, zip code, and alias. The method of claim 2 wherein information is received at the various facilities/switches, including customer, product, style, guidance, buying/etc. features selections and other uniqueness enhancement choices; The method of claim 2 wherein a determination is made for a uniqueness area through computers and other means identifying the uniqueness area of an inquiry, purchase, or other transaction; identifying the brand availability for a given products and/or services; identifying the uniqueness area styles availability for a given products and/or services; identifying the building of uniqueness in a product/service; identifying ownership status; controlling ownership. The method of claim 2 wherein a computer or other means receives artwork, requests to submit artwork, products, and other uniqueness submissions and determining availability in conjunction with manual means. The method of claim 2 wherein a computer or other means responds to all inputs subject to a number of controls; transmitting appropriate information to parties.

Description:

This application claims priority of provisional application No. 60/703,569.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to acquisition of products and services, and more particularly to systems and methods for establishing various ownership of products and services whereby customers are reasonably assured of uniqueness or varying levels of uniqueness in defined geographic areas, and further, an approach for acquisition of items manufactured and/or to be manufactured on a custom basis, which create uniqueness or levels of uniqueness for specific geographic locations. These items are acquired by customers via renting, leasing, subscribing, purchasing, or other means.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

From the day we are born, we are treated as special and unique by our mother and/or father. The onset of adolescence typically results in a gradual redefinition of “special” and the onset of joining the larger society. Many people experience a severe loss of identity and confusion. They seek alternative means to retain youth and continue the feeling of being special.

Parents impart a feeling of being “unique” and special in their rearing of their young. During the maturation process, mostly during the school age years, it remains very important for children to retain that feeling of being “unique” and special. The gradual erosion of that feeling is combined with elements of maturation including “rebellion” against the parents in an effort to define ourselves. Along these lines, changes these young people experience are extending their “unique” and special status into a vision they have of themselves. Yet, at this age, their self-concept remains fluid. At any given time, they seek to retain being “unique” and special. Often, this includes being the only one with things that makes them truly unique. Should someone else have or be wearing that item, it can result in strong feelings of anguish, hurt, etc. Apparel is a perfect example of the need to be unique. Consider that few children would want to wear the exact same thing their teacher is wearing. Rather, they prefer to be completely unique. To be in the same place as another wearing the same thing opens the door for cruel ridicule from their peers, which can generate severe negative feelings. Along these lines, no commercial product has yet to define and remedy this experience, (hereafter called being “twunked” for the purpose of this writing) nor sought to market to this need. For example, a child in the classroom wearing the same screen print T-shirt as the teacher has certainly been “twunked.” This unpleasant experience can be applied in perhaps the most blatant example, where a girl would attend a high school prom and encounter another girl wearing the identical prom dress. In this case, both girls “twunked” each other.

The Internet, nor any other commercial enterprise has sought to create a system whereby children are protected from being “twunked.

While the Internet has marginally helped people to achieve uniqueness, developing the Internet as a complementary marketing channel to traditional retail selling, renting, leasing, and so on, has been widely successful. Consumers have found greater diversity of choice, lower prices, and convenience. However, current practice has identified several factors acting as wide spread barriers to the complementary relationship and use of both as a marketing channel for acquiring items and remain unique, for perpetually renewable terms. The Internet has not solved the consumer's dilemma of how to acquire an item and benefit from exclusivity (uniqueness) for a defined geographical area, that is a “Uniqueness Area” or “Homearea.” Both retailers and online retailers have not provided a solution to this dilemma.

Moreover, no definition of a “Uniqueness Area” or “Homearea” has been made. These are areas where people spend the vast majority of their lives interacting with their family and friends, and possibly their jobs. In rural areas, it might be a larger area since people travel up and down many fewer roads than in metropolitan areas. In large cities, people tend to live their lives in a surrounding geographical pattern comprising many directions as many more roads and destinations are possible. Therefore, in general, the larger the city, the smaller the area people spend the vast majority of their lives. In addition, there are many more people and more of a tendency to be present yet not stand out.

First, retailers usually stock a variety of the same product to appeal to a spectrum of people's tastes. The identical product may come in various sizes and colors serving the specific physical and psychological needs of a consumer. Shoppers browse knowing the other shoppers in their area will frequent the same retailer and potentially buy the same items. Also, consumers know the items are sold there and reject the items since buying that item might make anyone in that area potentially one of many who own that item. Younger consumers are much more affected by this mindset versus older consumers, who are generally less concerned. However, people in their twenties and thirties are also driven toward upscale products which define a form of uniqueness generally centering around the possession of wealth. This situation precludes any satisfaction the consumer may have gained if they were permitted to be the only buyer in their area.

Second, brands at retail lack the diversity necessary for many younger consumers. Retailers are forced to choose which items to stock, which results in their stocking commonly demanded items for the mainstream audience. Again, in this is connection, consumers seeking uniqueness are unable to find an item giving them “uniqueness.”

Third, retailers lack technology or interest in limiting sales to create uniqueness. One only has to go through the endless racks of pre-Christmas merchandise to see the mass-produced items on clothing racks. Faced with this dilemma, many young consumers seeking uniqueness seek boutiques or online shopping venues to find diversity and uniqueness.

Accordingly, this invention relates to business conducted over the Internet, interactive cable TV, telephone, satellite or other electronic transmission system, and in particular, a query interface for an Internet based purchase system limiting the amount in a specific geographical area to a defined level of one, though it can be zero, or more than one, thereby permitting people to achieve uniqueness.

Both retail and the online Internet retailers have serious limitations to appeal to people who are driven to be unique owners of a product and/or brand, in the area, they live, school, work, and play. Teens and tweens are acutely aware of this problem and often will not shop in their home area for fear that another person bought the exact same item, or knows where they found it, possibly leading to embarrassment. Often these young consumer's parents will drive great distances to provide an adequate selection of good for their young person to be unique.

The Internet, by virtue of its depth has provided some relief. The depth of offerings provides young consumers confidence no one else will own and an identical product and wear it in their local home area. Again, the possibility of multiple ownership in their local home area remains an unsettling possibility which might take both owners subject to ridicule and feelings of embarrassment and humiliation.

Manufacturers have tried in vain, and failed to provide a solution by offering limited editions. Generally, these items were sold at unacceptably high prices, and get rejected by the younger consumer's parents. In addition, in time, successful brands which become popular with the market, such as was the case with “Von Dutch” might establish marketing arrangements such as a Wal-Mart, and make the item so commonly available as to destroy its value for the crowd that initially supported its growth and status. Again, no remedy exists for the overriding problem that the person next door could be sold the identical item, thereby diminishing the value for the item to a value approaching $0 to young consumers.

Any invention that attempts to guarantee uniqueness, and pledges to maintain uniqueness forever, has not been offered to the consuming public.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention permits a customer to buy a brand or derivatives of that brand, that is, brand versions, and be reasonably assured s/he is the only one in a defined geographical area with that brand. This ability to be exclusive with a specific brand begins with a careful analysis of a land mass being mapped into Uniqueness Areas, i.e., large areas of land where people generally grow up and are schooled during their kindergarten to high school years. Achieving a feeling of exclusivity is minimally needed for these Uniqueness Areas, and can be enhanced through a variety of other measures including, among other things, what is offered for a specific brand, how the brand may be built by a customer, and contractual terms agreed upon by the customer and provider of the product. Together, a variety of aspects of this invention combine to create a feeling of exclusivity for a customer in their Uniqueness Area, thereby establishing the cornerstone of value in the invention.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young people live and hang out as Uniqueness Areas. This method facilitates selling ANY PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES to young, twenty-thirty-somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people, given their entire nation's geography is carefully considered, mapped, and defined as many separate Uniqueness Areas, areas in which the typical young person would live and hang out. These Uniqueness Areas are generally consistent to some degree, with the existence of large public high schools, and usually comprise a diameter of 2 miles or greater, depending upon the place. Each “Uniqueness Areas” is selected based upon a variety of factors including, but not limited to the following: (1) proximity to another Uniqueness Area, (2) relationship to water masses, (3) closeness of state and/or international boundaries, (4) ability to use roads and water for travel, (5) proximity and degree of urbanization, (6) location of local schools, (7) prominence of local high schools, (8) status of the high schools (public v. private), (9) culture of a specific area, and other factors. Together, these factors are evaluated and a “Uniqueness Areas” is thereby defined. Further, “Uniqueness Areas” generally have at their center a high school, secondary school, or other educational institution at the center of the area, which is generally a key athletic or other organization for the Uniqueness Area. Customers select the “Uniqueness Areas” which best accommodates and defines where they mostly live and hang out, which would be the area in which they would use products offered by the provider. Customers acquire product knowing that the provider has defined the inventory available for their Uniqueness Area, which is typically “1”. In the case of the United States of America, roughly 5,500 of these “Uniqueness Areas” have been identified.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live in a country and specifically defined for use by the invention. This is done in order to facilitate selling to these customers, on a basis providing them the ability to acquire goods with a reasonable commercial assurance that they are the only one in a geographic area with rights to use that product, including approving others in their defined area may also use the item. Under these circumstances, once the product is acquired by the customer in his or her “Uniqueness Areas” the item is sold out and no one else can purchase the product, except for the person who owns the product in that Uniqueness Area.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” by providing them an extensive area in which to use their brand and brand versions wherein they can be reasonably assured not to find others wearing the same items. This system provides a reasonable assurance, not a guarantee, since privacy and other legal issues interfere with any ability to provide guarantees. The customer perceives value in the product knowing that the provider's goal is to deliver uniqueness and that contractually the provider has defined its role ensuring that it will not change its practices. These “Uniqueness Areas” experienced by people generally under 30 years of age are also called “Homeareas” for purposes of this patent.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” on a basis providing them the ability to determine their “Uniqueness Areas” by using methods incorporating zip codes, mapping, voice systems, GPS, or other location determination processes.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as Uniqueness Areas by providing larger Uniqueness Areas for people living in rural areas versus people living in urban areas. Generally, younger people living in rural areas travel greater distances along fewer roads as part of their day-to-day living. Their “Uniqueness Areas” must be larger inasmuch as they also commute greater distances to attend various levels of schooling, versus their urban counterparts. Being that school is generally required through the 12 grade, the “Uniqueness Areas” typically centers on the high school at the center of such a geographic space. Also, the adolescent culture for a given area centers on the local high school(s), and becomes the center of social order during this period of their lives. In urban areas of generally up to 200,000 people, one Uniqueness Area is selected. In larger urban areas, the most efficient pattern is a 6-point star encompassing 7 circles. In yet larger urban areas, the uniqueness zones will generally adjust to the dynamics of the geography and a variety of other factors.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as Uniqueness Areas by providing them an extensive area in which to exclusively own and enjoy their brand, with each Uniqueness Area having a relatively large public high school at its center.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” by providing contractual terms whereby the customer can buy multiples for their personal use.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” by providing contractual terms whereby the customer may buy multiple of their item for personal use and/or for friends, family, and others under their ownership license.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” by permitting customers continued purchasing rights, notwithstanding their having moved from their Homearea.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” by providing customers contractual terms whereby the customer is assured that should more than one person own the provider's product in an area, that the provider shall continue to sell to all existing customers, but, shall stop selling to new customers until such time that the number of customers with a specific item is restored back to “1”.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as “Uniqueness Areas” by providing them alternative purchasing structures limiting or expanding number of brand and/or brand version owners per Uniqueness Area. Under this embodiment, it is foreseen that customers may also enjoy products of even greater uniqueness through the expansion of the Uniqueness Area, for example, selling just one item to one person in the entire United States of America would be an extreme case of uniqueness. In another example, selling 1 item to someone living in a 500 mile geographic area would be another extreme example of uniqueness. Conversely, selling more than one in a defined Uniqueness Area, reduces the uniqueness for people in a specific geographic area, but is a possible embodiment foreseen in the spirit of the invention.

According to one other aspect of the invention, a method is provided for defining where young, twenty-thirty somethings, and/or uniqueness-driven people live and hang out as Uniqueness Areas by providing them an extensive system of controls implemented from within the provider and/or among brand owners helping ensure the quantity within a Homearea falls within the provider's guidelines. This also may include a variety of systems protecting customers and/or future customers from knockoffs and other fraudulent practices. Further, this invention anticipates that specific areas may be offered commercial contractual terms which permits a “Uniqueness Areas” to choose to define their use rules to the culture of their area in a manner which defines the norms and morals for their area.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “brand”, that is, select from a wide variety of graphic and/or textual combinations permitting them to build the identify of their choice, buy choosing an alias, nickname, street name, stage name, and so on.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “brand”, that is, select from a wide variety of gal and guy brands and brand versions permitting a gal to buy a guy brand or a guy to buy a gal brand, and build a specific look and appeal to onlookers.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “brand”, that is, select from a wide variety of graphics and/or text and/or logos in a variety of colors, sizes and apparel styles to represent their brand line.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “brand”, that is, select from a wide variety of brand versions within a brand line permitting a customer to achieve different genres of looks, such as gothic, preppy, cowboy, etc.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “brand”, that is, select from a wide variety of brands through searches by category including, but not limited to the following: All brands, gender type, date submitted, artist name, brand name, brand version, popularity/ranking status, “building” the brand popular choices, type of style, brand demographics, and so on.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “brand”, that is, select from a wide variety of brand versions through searches by category including, but not limited to the following: All brands, gender type, date submitted, artist name, brand name, brand version, popularity/ranking status, “building” the brand popular choices, type of style, brand demographics, and so on.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “build” their uniqueness, that is select from a wide variety of brand designing features including, but not limited to, placement, logos, size, tags, ink colors, location (front, back, sides, arms, handles, etc.), style, personalization, and other ways which do not depart from the spirit of the invention as it pertains to building a branded item.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive process to build their uniqueness through design features including, but not limited to, placement, logos, size, tags, ink colors, location (front, back, sides, arms, handles, etc.), style, personalization, and other ways which do not depart from the spirit of the invention as it pertains to building a branded item.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability to “build” their uniqueness, that is create completely unique, custom built wardrobes within their brand to ensure they won't be “twunked,” i.e., be in the same place wearing the exact same thing.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing those options to maintain the highest level of purchasing confidence by using a payment service such as PayPal, or other means, each based upon deploying a well-known level of security over personal information.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them options to use a payment service to make cash deposits into an account for a person to use to make future purchases.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them options to make a cash purchase with a merchant, who in turn applies or communicates the advance. This permits the customer to then make prepaid purchases using a variety of methods including the Internet, cell phone, and a variety of other technologies, all based upon a pre-paid transaction for a minor and/or adult.

According to an aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them options to protect their identity and the ability to use alias'or other measures to remain anonymous within the providers knowledge structure.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them extensive uniqueness frameworks such as the core definition, “twunked,” meaning not to be in the same place with another person wearing the same item. The invention anticipates extending the parameters of uniqueness to have more specific definitions.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive method for ensuring authenticity including a certification process encompassing electronic, holographic, and other manufacturing authenticity measures.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive basis for people to know and/or identify the provider's family of brands through symbols and other devices including the +” sign positioned in front of the “™” symbol on a screen print graphic.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them a contract which will guarantee their rights to the item/brand based upon their actions, including frequency of purchase, behaviors, and other measures.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them the ability to create an flexible ownership term potentially spanning multiple generations, provided the customer meets a minimum level of purchase within an individual brand over a specified period of time.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive selection of brands, brand versions, logos and products related to their brand(s) making the diversity of support predictable and valuable to the attraction of the ownership.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them extensive simple and/or relative pricing structures which accommodate the purchasing power within a given area of the globe. This system will have its basis in demographics, ethnicity, religion, internationalization, urbanization, and other factors applied to a variety of products.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an simple to extensive acquisition system potentially encompassing rental, subscription, owns/buys, leases, or other form of investing in unique items in his or her area.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive method of customer participation to earn discounts and/or other benefits based upon, but not limited to the submission of photos, activities, and so on, to earn discounts.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them a structure whereby brands which are not renewed are placed on hold for a term or other means, and notification is communicated that the brand is available at a set time or other means.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them a structure whereby brands are subject to a U.S. constitution-like mechanism whereby owners, after a period of years, may elect to move all or part of their brand to alternative uniqueness structures and/or non-uniqueness structures. This would incorporate features of the constitution of the nation in which they live. For example, in the United States, a ⅔rds majority would be required within a state boundary to alter the uniqueness criteria.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them extensive choices/benefits in merchandising situations which stimulates customers to behave in specific ways including being in places at designated times to earn benefits, paying for an admission to earn benefits, purchasing another product to earn benefits

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis that provides the an extensive incentive system to shop local and leave money in their local community.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive system facilitating select people to preorder based upon a variety of circumstances and benefits. Most of these systems will be tied to promoting purchases in the nature of benefiting partners, dealers, subsidiaries, and other relationships.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive GPS and other locator based systems for tracking owners on an optional or other basis.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them options to participate in premiers of new brands, versions, videos, music, theatre, or other artistic expressions.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them options to elect “bill me” options permitting them to avoid making purchases online. This might include 30-day billing cycles or other payment alternatives.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive notification system to owners and potential owners. These systems will incorporate a wide variety of electronic and conventional apparatus including email, cell phones, analog, digital, VOIP, and many other systems.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them an extensive ability for owners and non-owners to communicate in a variety of intra-, inter-, and extra-brand methods, including external communications from non-brand owners. This ability will incorporate a wide variety of existing and future communication systems.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for artists, designers, ad agencies, and many others, whereby they can contribute to a brand and/or brand version and earn from expressions such as, but not limited to, ideas, art, music, scripts, words. This would be in large part to further the “uniqueness” and exclusivity of a brand and/or brand version from which customers select and use to build their exclusivity using a variety of categorization criteria.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for artists, designers, ad agencies, and many others whereby they can contribute to a brand and/or brand version and earn from expressions such as, but not limited to, ideas, art, music, scripts, words. This would be in large part to further the “uniqueness” and exclusivity of a brand and/or brand version from which customers select and use to build their exclusivity building upon the feeling of community within a particular brand culture.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for artists, designers, ad agencies, and many others whereby they can contribute to a brand and/or brand version and earn from expressions such as, but not limited to, ideas, art, music, scripts, and words. This would be in large part, to further the “uniqueness” and exclusivity of a brand and/or brand version from which customers select and use to build their exclusivity using a variety of artist earnings methods such as commissions, royalties, drawings, recognition, and contests, generally acting as incentives for artistic ideas to emerge to serve the commercial “uniqueness” need of customers.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for artists, designers, ad agencies, and many others, whereby they can contribute to a brand and/or brand version and earn from expressions such as, but not limited to, ideas, art, music, scripts, and words. This would be in large part, to further the “uniqueness” and exclusivity of a brand and/or brand version from which customers select and use to build their exclusivity using a variety contractual means to ensure the artist retains rights in the artistic ideas offered in support of brands and/or brand versions.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for artists, designers, ad agencies, and many others whereby they can contribute to a brand and/or brand version and earn from expressions such as, but not limited to, ideas, art, music, scripts, and words. This would be in large part, to further the “uniqueness” and exclusivity of a brand and/or brand version from which customers select and use to build their exclusivity using a variety procedures whereby artists may contribute to a brand and/or brand version, thereby incrementally building upon the overall pool of artistic expression available to customers, and increasing their ability to create their own uniqueness. Along these lines, typical copyright rules may be adaptively defined to permit electronic distance collaboration between artists.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for artists, designers, ad agencies, and many others whereby they can contribute to a brand and/or brand version and earn from expressions such as, but not limited to, ideas, art, music, scripts, words, to further the “uniqueness” and exclusivity of a brand and/or brand version from which customers select and use to build their exclusivity, whereby, artistic contributors are recognized non-financially through a variety of recognition levels based upon a variety of measures.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided to create a ratings system for artistic expressions to extend the ability of the customer to develop uniqueness for their personal use including permitting official raters, owners, and/or anyone to rate brands submitted to the provider. Ratings and extensive breakdowns are made to provide specific information predicting anticipated consumer and/or customer internet demand. Further, this information could be used to anticipate the most popular, uses, styles, colors, sizes, etc. for a brand.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided to create a ratings system of artistic expressions to extend the ability of the customer to develop uniqueness for their personal use including permitting ratings structures involving people to evolve into formal focus groups which build a knowledge-base over the interest in a brand, and accompanying graphics, lyrics, music, videos, writings, and a variety of other artistic expressions consistent with this invention.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided to create a ratings system for artistic expressions to extend the ability of the customer to develop uniqueness for their personal use including permitting analyses of order history to provide potential customers a perspective over actual customization choices by owners of the brand version thereby permitting the customer the ability to custom design in relation to actual orders.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided to create a ratings system for artistic expressions to extend the ability of the customer to develop uniqueness for their personal use including analyses of demographic breakdowns by submissions and purchase of brand versions for customer and non-customers.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided to create a ratings system for artistic expressions to extend the ability of the customer to develop uniqueness for their personal use including rankings of brands and brand versions in relative terms with other brand and brand versions, including structures such as Top 10, Top 100, World 100, USA 100, and the like.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided establishing a legal means to extend the ability of the customer to develop a secure feeling of uniqueness through set prices and/or terms of ownership resulting in permanent ownership of the brand and/or product for a defined geographic area or sale of product, subject to specific inventory limitations and/or restrictions.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided establishing a legal means to extend the ability of the customer to develop a secure feeling of uniqueness through affiliate sales mechanisms including, web links, email marketing, direct sales, and other methods that may be offered to propagate the provider's sales.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided establishing a legal means to extend the ability of the customer to develop a secure feeling of uniqueness through customer brand long-term ownership guarantees being established through contracts to establish additional value to the provider's products.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided establishing a legal means to extend the ability of the customer to develop a secure feeling of uniqueness through trade marking diversity being utilized to create a “flexible trademarking” strategy which avoids trademark infringement, while creating a diversity of trademarks available for customers.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for establishing a selling means to extend the ability of the customer to develop a secure feeling of uniqueness through cross Homearea purchases commission procedures adapt to provide a dealer-sensitive level of sales exclusivity within a dealer's core sales area.

According to one aspect of the invention, a method is provided for establishing a selling means to extend the ability of the customer to develop a secure feeling of uniqueness through dealer involvement is designed to provide flexibility in terms of their level of input.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagram depicting an approach for customers to acquire items making them unique in their local area according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram depicting a general approach for customers to exercise the use of tools to select their home area, pick brands/items, build custom product, buy custom product, all subject to procedures to ensure customer uniqueness.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram depicting an approach for customers to establish their Uniqueness Area for acquiring items according to an embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram depicting an approach for customers to establish their BRANDING criteria for acquiring items according to an embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram depicting an approach for customers to establish their BUILDING criteria for acquiring items according to an embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram depicting an approach for customers to establish their BUYING criteria for acquiring items according to an embodiment.

FIG.7 is a flow diagram depicting an approach for procedures governing customers acquiring value in products according to an embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of a computer system upon which embodiments of the invention may be implemented.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In the following description, for the purposes of explanation, specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be apparent that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are depicted in block diagram form in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the invention.

Various aspects and features of example embodiments of the invention are described in more detail hereinafter in the following sections: (1) functional overview; (2) area selection criteria; (3) product selection criteria; (4) provider procedures; (5) product delivery; and (6) implementation mechanisms.

1. Functional Overview

FIG. 1 is a block diagram 100 that illustrates an approach for customers to acquire items according to various embodiments described herein. As used herein, the term “items” refers to any commercial goods that can be acquired by customers under a variety of legal ownership means. Examples of items include apparel, paper goods, art, handmade goods, movies, music games, etc., in a wide variety of forms, including apparel; storage on a non-volatile memory such as a tape, other magnetic medium, optical medium, read-only memory or the like, and the invention is not limited to any particular type of item. In general, the decision of what items to acquire is separated from the decision of when to acquire the items. Customers 102, after selecting their Uniqueness Area, may specify what items to acquire using one or more item selection criteria (branding, building, & buying) separate from deciding when to receive the specified items. Furthermore, customers are subject to provider 104 procedures and are not constrained and have continuous, serialized acquisition capabilities.

According to one embodiment of FIG. 1, a customer 102 provides Uniqueness Area information and then provides one or more item selection criteria in a few steps to a provider 104 over a link 106. Link 106 may be any medium for transferring data between customer 102 and provider 104 and the invention is not limited to any particular medium. Examples of link 106 include, without limitation, a network such as a LAN, WAN or the Internet, a telecommunications link, a wire or optical link or a wireless connection.

The item selection criteria of FIG. 1 indicate location, items, and preferences that customer 102 desires to acquire from provider 104. In response to receiving the location, items, and preferences selection criteria from customer 102, provider 104 provides the items indicated by the item selection criteria to customer 102 over a delivery channel 108. Delivery channel 108 may be implemented by any mechanism or medium that provides for the transfer of items from provider 104 to customer 102 and the invention is not limited to any particular type of delivery channel. Examples of delivery channel 108 include, without limitation, mail delivery, courier delivery or delivery using a delivery agent. Provider 104 may be centralized or distributed depending upon the requirements of a particular application.

Alternatively, in FIG. 1, provider 104 may communicate over a link 114 with alternative provider(s) 150 to manufacturer and deliver these items over delivery channel 112 the items requested by the customer 102.

In addition, customers 102, under this invention have a defined level of uniqueness. This invention anticipates that embodiments may emerge which take different approaches together or separately with a variety of alternative geographic and/or non-geographic restricted uniqueness strategies, including, limited geographic editions, super-limited editions, limited editions, semi-limited editions, and/or unlimited acquisition methodologies.

The approach just described for commerce governing the sale of uniqueness items under this invention by customers 102 is now described with reference to a general flow diagram 200 of

FIG. 2. After starting in step 202, in step 204, customer 102 creates location, items, and preferences selection criteria. In step 206, customer 102 provides the location, items, and preferences selection criteria to provider 104. In step 208, in response to provider 104 receiving the location, items, and preferences selection criteria from customer 102, provider 104 provides one or more items indicated by the location, items, preferences, and other, if any selection criteria to customer 102. The process is complete in step 210.

2. Area Selection Criteria

The approach just described for customers to acquire uniqueness items is now described with reference to a flow diagram 300 of FIG. 3. After starting in step 302, in step 304, customer 102 selects a Uniqueness Area in which they will primarily use the product. In step 306, customer 102 provides the Uniqueness Area selected to provider 104. In step 308, in response to provider 104 receiving the item selection criteria from customer 102, provider 104 provides one or more items relative to the location selection criteria to customer 102. The process is complete in step 310.

In one embodiment, customers are permitted to acquire their brand for personal and friend use in their primary area in a manner called “Crewing.” In another embodiment, rural and urban Uniqueness Area size differ, with rural areas being larger than urban areas due to the higher level of skewed movement patterns found in urban areas. In yet another embodiment, owners are contractually permitted to move to another Uniqueness Area and continue to purchase their item notwithstanding another owner existing in the new Uniqueness Area, in which case, as soon as possible, the number of owners will be reduced in number back to 1. In another embodiment, the Uniqueness Areas are strongly developed in size and layout with the prominence of a local high school being given strong consideration in the design. In one more embodiment, assurances are provided contractually by the provider 104 that it maintains its ownership promise in perpetuity. In yet another embodiment, the provider 104 introduces a variety of limited quantity structures to satisfy the demand for higher or lower level of uniqueness. In another embodiment, the provider 104 creates customer 102 assurances through the establishment of controls governing the release and supply of brands and brand versions.

Other embodiments include a method being provided for selling to customers on a basis providing areas in which to be unique with product ranging from 3 miles in diameter to an area substantially larger. Also, a method is provided for selling to customers on a basis providing them the ability to determine their Homearea using zip code, map, voice, GPS, or other location determination process. Other branding-specific embodiments may added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

3. Product Selection Criteria

The approach just described for customers to acquire uniqueness items is now described with reference to a flow diagram 400 of FIG. 4. After starting in step 402, in step 404, customer 102 provides BRANDING selection criteria. In step 406, customer 102 provides the branding selection criteria to provider 104. In step 408, in response to provider 104 receiving the branding selection criteria from customer 102, provider 104 provides one or more items indicated by the branding selection criteria to customer 102. The process is complete in step 410.

Following the aforementioned steps in FIG. 4, customer 102 creates criteria for selecting a brand and/or brand version. Customer 102 selects their BRAND CRITERIA by navigating through brands using a variety of navigational tools including, but not limited to the following: (1) permitting viewing of gal and guy brands for selecting brands oriented to the opposite or same gender; (2) permitting selection of categories of graphics/text selections; (3) permitting intra-brand diversity; (4) permitting selection of categories of brands and/or brand versions. Other branding-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

The approach just described for customers to acquire uniqueness items is now described with reference to a flow diagram 500 of FIG. 5. After starting in step 502, in step 504, customer 102 provides BUILDING selection criteria. In step 506, customer 102 provides the building selection criteria to provider 104. In step 508, in response to provider 104 receiving the building selection criteria from customer 102, provider 104 provides one or more items indicated by the building selection criteria to customer 102. The process is complete in step 510.

Following the aforementioned steps in FIG. 5, customer 102 creates criteria for selecting a brand and/or brand version. Customer 102 selects their criteria for BUILDING their brand or building functions offering a variety of electronic too/strategies to create uniqueness suiting their individual needs including, but not limited to the following: (1) additional graphics selection methods, (2) brand and/or brand version placement methods, (3) brand and/or brand version logo use, placement, size, colorization and other methods, (4) brand and/or brand version size selection methods, (5) brand and/or brand version tag use, type, and placement methods, (6) brand and/or brand version ink color methods, (7) front and back of shirt placement methods, (8) apparel style selection methods, (9) gift creation and packaging methods, and (10) hand-crafting customization methods. Other building-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

The approach just described for customers to acquire uniqueness items is now described with reference to a flow diagram 600 of FIG. 6. After starting in step 602, in step 604, customer 102 provides BUYING selection criteria. In step 606, customer 102 provides the BUYING selection criteria to provider 104. In step 608, in response to provider 104 receiving the building selection criteria from customer 102, provider 104 provides one or more items indicated by the building selection criteria to customer 102. The process is complete in step 610.

Following the aforementioned steps in FIG. 6, customer 102 creates criteria for selecting a brand and/or brand version. Customer 102 BUYS their brand and/or brand version by navigating through brands using a variety of navigational tools including, but not limited to the following: (1) PayPal or PayPal-like payment processes, (2) PayPal or PayPal-like deposit processes, (3) credit card or credit structures, and (4) cash handling structures. Other buying-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

4. Provider Procedures

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through the creation of a variety of CUSTOMER provisions 704 embodiments. In one, customer provisions permit the location of a customer to be tracked (optionally) at all times through a variety of means and be tied into the purchasing, communicating, or other activities experienced by the customer through the provider's services. In yet another embodiment, customers are entitled to brand and/or brand version premieres through a variety of technologies utilizing “first-run” brands, based upon defined levels of ratings and/or participation within the provider's services. Another embodiment provides for customers to have billing accounts whereby they pay for product from being billed electronically in conventional terms such as net 30, thereby precluding the need for credit cards, and/or supporting anonymity controls. An additional embodiment may include total identity masking mechanisms helping to perfect the anonymity of the customer. Other customer-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through OWNERSHIP provisions 706 with the establishment of a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, the establishment of being “twunked” creates additional value as customers perceive the provider's system as superior for achieving uniqueness. In another embodiment, the provider offers a certification system for a customer to learn who is the legitimate owner of a brand or other merchandise, including electronic, and tangible goods and services defining ownership. Another embodiment includes an extensive contract defining ownership of brand, location, term rights, pricing, and other aspects ensuring a high value to ownership is achieved. In yet another embodiment, pricing mechanisms accommodate local economic indexes ensuring product is priced in a manner best suited for that customer's continued loyalty to the provider. Another embodiment creates participative measures to ensure the maximum level of involvement in the creative process, which in turn ensures the greatest diversity of offerings for a customer and their brands. Other ownership-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through BEHAVIOR provisions 708 with the establishment of a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, events in a provider's designated Homearea involves dealers, community, and other activities to build a festival-like quality to the release of new product, thereby benefiting the local infrastructure. In yet another embodiment, mechanisms are created to help communities participate and build their “shop local” goals through the provider's mechanisms. In another embodiment, preordering is permitted for customers to electively participate in a process to have access to new product. Other behavior-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through COMMUNICATIONS provisions 710 with the establishment of a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, customers can communicate with other customers using or not using the provider's products using any means directly and/or indirectly connected to the provider's network or subject to the provider's network. In another embodiment, new product premieres, discounts, or other key events are established through a notification system for customers and non-customers, possibly having additional benefits and/or advantages for customers. Other communication-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through ART SUBMISSION provisions 712 with the establishment of a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, categorization systems are provided to help customers 102, navigate ratings of brands and/or brand versions in a wide variety of structures permitting the greatest consumer choice possible. In another embodiment, communities are directly involved in ranking hometown, or other brands and/or brand versions, thereby increasing their sense of ownership and pride. In another embodiment, artists provide expressions in response to a variety of earnings methods acting as incentives for artistic ideas to emerge to serve the commercial “uniqueness” need of customers. In yet another embodiment, artists provide expressions in response to a variety contractual means to ensure the artist retains rights in the artistic ideas offered in support of brands and/or brand versions. In one other embodiment, artists provide expressions in response to a variety procedures whereby artists may contribute to a brand and/or brand version, thereby incrementally building upon the overall pool of artistic expression available to customers, and increasing their ability to create their own uniqueness. Along these lines, typical copyright rules may be adapted to permit electronic distance collaboration between artists. In another embodiment, artists provide expressions in response to artistic contributors being recognized non-financially through a variety of recognition levels based upon a variety of measures. Other art submission-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through RATINGS provisions 714 with the establishment of a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, brand success is identified through a contest whereby customers and/or non-customers participate in predicting the success of submitted or published brands to earn prizes, discounts, recognition, etc. In another embodiment, official raters, owners, and/or anyone can rate brands submitted to the provider. Ratings and extensive breakdowns are made to provide exacting information regarding anticipated consumer and/or customer internet level. Further, this information could be used to anticipate the most popular, uses, styles, colors, sizes, etc. for a brand. In one other embodiment, ratings provide focus group knowledge over the interest in a brand and accompanying graphics, lyrics, music, videos, writings, etc. Also, another embodiment, covers the order history providing potential customers a perspective over actual customization of the brand version, thereby permitting the customer the ability to custom design in relation to actual orders. In another embodiment, demographic breakdowns by submissions and purchase of brand versions are available for customer and non-customers. In yet another embodiment, rankings of brands are delineated by brand and/or brand version in relative terms with other brand and brand versions. Also, one embodiment includes rankings of brands and brand versions in relative terms with other brand and brand versions, including structures such as Top 10, Top 100, World 100, USA 100, and the like. Other rankings-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through LEGAL provisions 716 with the creation of legal embodiments. In one embodiment, a set price and/or term of ownership results in permanent ownership of the brand and/or product for a defined geographic area, or sale of product, subject to specific inventory limitations and/or restrictions. In another embodiment, affiliate sales mechanisms including, web links, email marketing, direct sales, and other methods being offered to propagate the provider's sales. In yet another embodiment, customer brand long-term ownership guarantees are established through contracts to establish additional value to the provider's products. Another embodiment covers trade marking diversity being deployed to create a diversity of trademarks which avoid trademark infringement, while creating a diversity of trademarks available for customers. Other legal-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

In flow diagram 700 of FIG. 7, the provider 104 creates value for the customer 102 through SELLING provisions 718 with the establishment of a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, cross Homearea purchases commission procedures adapt to provide a dealer-sensitive level of exclusivity within a dealer's core sales area. In another embodiment, dealer involvement is designed to provide flexibility in terms of their level of input. Other dealer-specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention.

5. Product Delivery

The approach described herein for selling, renting, leasing, subscribing, or other product license to customers provides superior capability to produce and deliver uniqueness products over prior approaches. Specifically, the use of location, item, and preference selection criteria provides for efficient brand and/or brand version inventory management and production by allowing customer uniqueness to be achieved with strong assurance of uniqueness. The physical delivery of product may also take various forms. According to one embodiment, items are delivered by provider 104 to customer 102 through provider 150 over delivery channel 114 of FIG. 1. In another embodiment, the item delivery criteria may be specified by customer 102 to provider 104 or negotiated by customer 102 and provider 150 as part of a payment process. In another embodiment, customer 102 receives benefits for electing alternate delivery channel 114 and 112. This option, for example, might involve the customer 102 receiving product at a pick-up point. In yet another embodiment, In another embodiment, the customer 102 elects a series of locations used as a default deliver methods, potentially, earning discounts or other benefits. Other delivery specific embodiments may be added or modified without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. The process is complete in step 720.

6. Implementation Mechanisms

The approach described herein for selling, renting, leasing and/or subscribing items to customers is applicable to any type of business application and (without limitation) is particularly well suited for Internet-based selling, renting, leasing and/or subscribing applications for transactions of a wide variety of products to customers. The invention may be implemented in hardware circuitry, in computer software, or a combination of hardware circuitry and computer software and is not limited to a particular hardware or software implementation.

In block diagram 800 of FIG. 8, it is illustrated that a computer system 800 upon which an embodiment of the invention may be implemented. Computer system 800 includes a bus 802 or other communication mechanism for communicating information, and a processor 804 coupled with bus 802 for processing information. Computer system 800 also includes a main memory 806, such as a random access memory (RAM) or other dynamic storage device, coupled to bus 802 for storing information and instructions to be executed by processor 804. Main memory 806 also may be used for storing temporary variables or other intermediate information during execution of instructions to be executed by processor 804. Computer system 800 further includes a read only memory (ROM) 808 or other static storage device coupled to bus 802 for storing static information and instructions for processor 804. A storage device 810, such as a magnetic disk or optical disk, is provided and coupled to bus 802 for storing information and instructions.

Computer system 800 may be coupled via bus 802 to a display 812, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT), for displaying information to a computer user. An input device 814, including alphanumeric and other keys, is coupled to bus 802 for communicating information and command selections to processor 804. Another type of user input device is cursor control 816, such as a mouse, a trackball, or cursor direction keys for communicating direction information and command selections to processor 804 and for controlling cursor movement on display 812. This input device typically has two degrees of freedom in two axes, a first axis (e.g., x) and a second axis (e.g., y), that allows the device to specify positions in a plane.

The invention is related to the use of computer system 800 for a variety of business transactions to customers. According to one embodiment of the invention, the selling, renting, leasing, and/or subscribing items to customers is provided by computer system 800 in response to processor 804 executing one or more sequences of one or more instructions contained in main memory 806. Such instructions may be read into main memory 806 from another computer-readable medium, such as storage device 810. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 806 causes processor 804 to perform the process steps described herein. One or more processors in a multi-processing arrangement may also be employed to execute the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 806. In alternative embodiments, hard-wired circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention are not limited to any specific combination of hardware circuitry and software.

The term “computer-readable medium” as used herein refers to any medium that participates in providing instructions to processor 804 for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media includes, for example, optical or magnetic disks, such as storage device 810. Volatile media includes dynamic memory, such as main memory 806. Transmission media includes coaxial cables, copper wire and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise bus 802.

Transmission media can also take the form of acoustic or light waves, such as those generated during radio wave and infrared data communications.

Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, or any other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, a PROM, and EPROM, a FLASH-EPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave as described hereinafter, or any other medium from which a computer can read.

Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to processor 804 for execution. For example, the instructions may initially be carried on a magnetic disk of a remote computer. The remote computer can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions over a telephone line using a modem. A modem local to computer system 800 can receive the data on the telephone line and use an infrared transmitter to convert the data to an infrared signal. An infrared detector coupled to bus 802 can receive the data carried in the infrared signal and place the data on bus 802. Bus 802 carries the data to main memory 806, from which processor 804 retrieves and executes the instructions. The instructions received by main memory 806 may optionally be stored on storage device 810 either before or after execution by processor 804.

Computer system 800 also includes a communication interface 818 coupled to bus 802.

Communication interface 818 provides a two-way data communication coupling to a network link 820 that is connected to a local network 822. For example, communication interface 818 may be an integrated services digital network (ISDN) card or a modem to provide a data communication connection to a corresponding type of telephone line. As another example, communication interface 818 may be a local area network (LAN) card to provide a data communication connection to a compatible LAN. Wireless links may also be implemented. In any such implementation, communication interface 818 sends and receives electrical, electromagnetic or optical signals that carry digital data streams representing various types of information.

Network link 820 typically provides data communication through one or more networks to other data devices. For example, network link 820 may provide a connection through local network 822 to a host computer 824 or to data equipment operated by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) 826. ISP 826 in turn provides data communication services through the world wide packet data communication network now commonly referred to as the “Internet” 828. Local network 822 and Internet 828 both use electrical, electromagnetic or optical signals that carry digital data streams.

The signals through the various networks and the signals on network link 820 and through communication interface 818, which carry the digital data to and from computer system 800, are exemplary forms of carrier waves transporting the information.

Computer system 800 can send messages and receive data, including program code, through the network(s), network link 820 and communication interface 818. In the Internet example, a server 830 might transmit a requested code for an application program through Internet 828, ISP 826, local network 822 and communication interface 818. In accordance with the invention, one such downloaded application provides for the renting of items to customers as described herein.

The received code may be executed by processor 804 as it is received, and/or stored in storage device 810, or other non-volatile storage for later execution. In this manner, computer system 800 may obtain application code in the form of a carrier wave.

The above mentioned approach focus on key aspects of the invention, and include any form of product and service which may be available for consumers. Further, it envisions the evolution of the Homeareas to adapt to changing demographics. In this connection, consumers would seek uniqueness or various uniqueness levels for any product and service lending itself to this invention.

The novel approach described herein for creating uniqueness products for customers provides several advantages over prior approaches to build uniqueness. First, uniqueness is assured through an extensive area selection, brand selection, product building, and buying processes ranging from designs, colors, size, version, and other means. Second, customers are given a contract ensuring the long-term use, provider performance, and control of the ownership, subject to minimum purchasing restrictions. Third, controls are engineered by the company offering the product ensuring the reasonable efforts are performed to fulfill limitations on the flow of product to consumers in a given area. Fourth, art submission strategies by the provider including open branding, ensures a wide variety of art flows into the given brand or product line creating a wealth of diversity and selection for customers. Fifth, a wide variety of artistic genres exist to customers to find a brand line which suits their particular uniqueness circumstances.

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described as applicable to an implementation anticipating Internet based ordering and mail or other long-distance delivery of the items, where the special advantages of the method are very attractive. However the same invention may be applied in a more conventional video, games, or music rental-store setting, where various types of customers may be allowed OWNERSHIP of a brand, brand version, or other merchandise over any term and subject to a variety of uniqueness or limitation-creating mechanisms.

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof However, various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense.