Browse Prior Art Database

Object Gateways for Owner Communication

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000180565D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Mar-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Mar-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 29K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This invention describes a method that allows one party to anonymously contact another through an object when the owner of that object is not present. Objects can include an object that might be need to be moved, such as a car, or an object that is lost, such as a cell phone (which might be locked, and thus cannot be used to contact the owner. An approach is disclosed that uses an identifier obtained from the device, which can be used to contact the owner of the object and stored in a cell phone (or other device), but without revealing the contact information of the object owner.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 41% of the total text.

Page 1 of 3

Object Gateways for Owner Communication

People often wish to contact an object's owner when the owner isn't present. In some cases, the owner might have lost an object such as their keys, a laptop, or a wallet. In other cases, such as with a car, the object might not be lost, but the owner needs to be contacted when the owner is not present. For example, when a car has blocked another car, or when a Good Samaritan wants to let the owner know his car is about to be towed. We use the example of the owner of an automobile being contacted by a Good Samaritan throughout, but this invention can apply to any scenario where the owner of an object needs to be contacted, and the person contacting does not necessarily have to be a Good Samaritan (he could just want the owner to move his car).

There are some known solutions, but their effectiveness is limited. When someone needs to contact the owner of a car, there are a limited number of ways to do so. If the reason is a minor dent, or a request for the car to be moved, he or she is usually limited to either leaving a note or calling the police. Leaving a note can be unreliable due to the weather or handwriting legibility and is no help in warning the owner about a tow truck and calling the police might result in a ticket. If a Good Samaritan wishes to warn the owner about a car being towed, there is little the Good Samaritan can do.

The main idea is to provide identifying information that can be incorporated into an object, such as the license plate of a car, that can be used to anonymously contact the owner, and then after first contact maintain two-way anonymous communication between the two parties.

The invention uses 4 components:
A device such as a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag or bar code that can be


1.

2.

3.

4.

allowing one party to respond to the other, block the other person and so on. This includes address book entries that are digital rights management-protected (DRM) to prevent the owner of the device to read the identifying information about the contact, but still allow the device owner to do things like call or text message the contact. This user interface would also provide a way to discontinue the relationship and to update the contact information.

When an individual wishes to contact the owner of a car, the person would pick-up identifying information from the car, which would create a temporary address book entry. This entry identifies the contact generically, such as "Owner of car I dented". The device owner can then use the address book entry to contact the owner by phone, text message, email or other means, without revealing the identity of either party. On the

1

used to pick-up a code uniquely, but anonymously, providing a reference to the owner of the car (or other object), that allows the owner to remain anonymous.

A device, such as a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) can pick-up and

process this code,...