Verizon (NYSE: VZ) may be considering a way to allow FiOS TV subscribers to offer friends and family members the gift of free video-on-demand movies. But the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has rejected a patent application the company filed for its "VOD gifting" method.
According to a document published Thursday by the USPTO, Verizon's approach involved offering customers the option of sending other subscribers coupons for individual VOD titles or monetary credits that could be used to buy any title in its library.
USPTO sent Verizon a "final rejection" notice for the patent in July, according to the transaction history it published for the application. Verizon had filed the application in February 2012.
The concept of VOD gifting may be pursued by other pay TV and technology providers, including Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). On Thursday, USPTO published a recent patent application from Apple titled "Media Gifting Devices and Methods." Apple details in the application how it may be able to allow iTunes customers to transfer electronic gift certificates for content by using near-field communications technology. NFC could allow smartphone or tablet users to transfer gift certificates by touching a smartphone or tablet to another device that is NFC-capable.
USPTO records show it is still reviewing the Apple patent application.
Source: Verizon and USPTO
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