Ahh, the tweet seat. Those block of seats reserved for smartphone-addicted patrons of movies, the theater and sporting events. While they’re not everywhere yet, more and more venues are encouraging patrons to bring their phones and tweet during events – but only in specific seating, so as not to bother the other guests.
Sounds like a neat idea (although it definitely has its detractors), but should it be patentable? One company seems to think so, and they’re gunning for at least one event venue with their “ownership” of tweet seats.
Ars Technica reports that Inselberg Interactive claims to have a patent on tweet seats.
The company is demanding that Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut either license the tweet seat idea from them, or stop hosting tweet seat nights at their venue.
It’s a neat idea, these tweet seats, encouraging guests to live-tweet a performance from a sectioned-off area of the venue. The venue gets the word-of-mouth advertising from those live-tweeting, and it doesn’t bother the other guests who prefer to watch their movie the old fashioned way.
Still, can something like this be patented? There is really no new technology involved, as it’s simply a matter of giving permission to a small group of attendees to use their smartphones in a certain area of the theater or stadium.
Ars Technica has part of Inselberg Interactive’s patent which describes what they’re calling the tweet seat:
“A method for providing interactive audience participation at live spectator events. The method includes providing each spectator with an interactive device that presents a promotional message and includes a user interface, broadcasting audio programming to the spectator through the interactive device, querying the spectators, wherein answers to the querying may be entered by spectators via the user interface of the interactive device, transmitting the answers to a central processor, storing the answers as spectator data, processing the spectator data into results, storing the results of the processing of the spectator data and broadcasting the results of the processing of the spectator data.”
Honestly, it doesn’t really sound anything like a tweet seat. What’s being described above sounds more like a specific device made for live audience participation, sort of like clickers in a university classroom. The device sounds like it would transmit a question to the audience via audio, and the audience’s answers would be aggregated and somehow broadcast to the audience at large.
I’m sure a venue could have some sort of trivia component to their tweet seats, as an app on a smartphone would no doubt be able to pose questions and display answers up on the IMAX screen. But to me, this patent sounds nothing like tweet seats themselves.
Do you think Inselberg Interactive has a case here? Or are they grasping at straws? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
(Movie theater image via Shutterstock)