Patently Apple covered an Apple Inc. patent today published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that appears to be related to an app designed to assist shoppers by providing product and retailer information for scanned items. The invention would provide similar functionality to various third-party apps currently in the App Store that use barcode scanning and image recognition to search the web for product information and price comparisons. Patently Apple explained:

Apple has received their first Granted Patent relating to methods for conducting shopping-related transactions with a handheld electronic device. In some embodiments a mobile electronic device may be used to identify a product and obtain pricing information relevant to retailers of the product within a specified geographical location. In another embodiment, a mobile electronic device may be used to acquire pricing information for a shopping list of products. Embodiments may also include a variety of features that make the shopping experience quick and efficient while allowing the consumer to hunt for a better bargain. Furthermore, several embodiments also allow the product manufacturers and/or retailers to distribute relevant product information to targeted consumers who are known to be, or who may be, interested in buying a particular product.