FOCUSED COUPON SYSTEM
 Inventors: James P. De Lapa, Grand Rapids;
Charles F. Howe, Spring Lake, both of Mich.
 Assignee: Ad Response MicroMarketing Corporation, St. Joseph, Mich.
 Appl. No.: 947,285
 Filed: Sep. 17,1992
 Int. C1.5 G06F 15/21
 U.S. Q 364/401; 364/405
 Field of Search 364/401, 405
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,723,212 2/1988 Mindrum et al 364/401
4,833,308 5/1989 Humble 235/383
4,896,791 6/1990 Smith 221/7
4,908,761 3/1990 Tai 364/401
4,949,256 8/1990 Humble 364/401
4,957,311 9/1990 Geisenheimer 283/56
4,964,053 10/1990 Humble 364/466
5,053,955 10/1991 Peach et al 364/401
5,128,520 7/1992 Rando et al 235/375
5,173,851 12/1992 Offetal 364/401
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
8501373 3/1985 World Int. Prop. 0 364/406
Primary Examiner—Roy N. Envall, Jr.
Assistant Examiner—Gita Shingala
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Price, Heneveld, Cooper,
DeWitt & Litton
A merchandising system for generating and redeeming product discount coupons prints coupons for a selected consumer from a group of consumers by selecting particular coupons from a group of coupons to provide to the selected consumer and printing the coupons. Both the consumer and coupon identifications are encoded on the coupon in machine-readable form whereby the machine-readable code may be read at a point-of-sale terminal using a code reading apparatus. The portion of the read code corresponding to the consumer identification is replaced with a generic code to provide a substitute code. The substitute code is applied to a look-up table in order to determine coupon parameters related to the coupon identification. The entire machine-readable code may also be captured and uploaded to a central database for determining the coupon identification and consumer identification in order to update the database of consumers and coupons. In this manner, coupons redeemed by a consumer may be used in selecting future coupons for that consumer. The system may provide for coupon redemption by providing sufficient information to a manufacturer in order to generate a rebate to the retailer.
51 Claims, 11 Drawing Sheets