U.S. Patent No. 11,007,429: Background process for importing real-world activity data into a location-based game

Issued May 18, 2021, to Niantic Inc.
Filed/Priority to June 26, 2019

This Niantic patent, likely related to games such as Pokémon GO, uses background processes to monitor real-world activity and trigger game events.


U.S. Patent No. 11,007,429 (the ‘429 patent) relates to an interactive game application tracking user activity through the background process of an already installed activity application on a client device to trigger events in the game based on real world activity. The ‘429 patent details a computer program that identifies updated activity data describing real-world actions performed by a user, using a background process of an app on a user’s device. The app which the data is extracted from is an activity app already installed on the device which already has its own method of tracking activity data such as walking distance. In response to identifying such data is available, the app extracts at least some of the data and sends that data to the server that hosts the application. The app then receives a notification from the server indicating an event within the interactive application, which was triggered by some of the metrics of the extracted activity data. The data gathered can be statistics, including distances traveled, steps, and activity criteria like distance traveled in what amount of time. Niantic is the developer famously behind Pokémon GO, and the ‘429 patent could allow players of location-based games to trigger game events with physical activity without having the app open.



Events in an interactive application (e.g., a location-based parallel reality game) are triggered by a user’s real-world activity meeting one or more criteria. A background process executing on the user’s client device periodically extracts activity data from an activity monitoring application (e.g., a fitness application) and provides it to a server hosting the interactive application. The server determines whether received activity data triggers an event and, if so, sends a notification of the event to the client device.


Illustrative Claim:

  1. A non-transitory computer-readable medium storing executable computer program that, when executed by a computing device, causes the computing device to perform operations comprising: identifying, via a background process of a client device, that updated activity data describing real-world actions performed by a user of the client device is available from an activity monitoring application of the client device, the updated activity data including one or more metrics derived from one or more sensors of the client device; responsive to identifying that the updated activity data is available, extracting at least some of the updated activity data from the activity monitoring application, the extracting including filtering the updated activity data to include a subset of the one or more metrics, the subset usable for completing an objective in an interactive application hosted by a server; sending, via a network, the extracted activity data to the server that hosts the interactive application; and receiving, from the server, a notification of a virtual event within the interactive application, wherein the virtual event was triggered responsive to the subset of the metrics of the extracted activity data achieving the objective.