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Title:
SECURITY SYSTEM WITH BENEFIT DENIAL FUNCTIONALITY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/031313
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A merchandise display security system for displaying and protecting an article of merchandise is provided. In one example, the system includes an article of merchandise and a sensor. The sensor is configured to be coupled to the article of merchandise and to execute a benefit denial event on the article of merchandise in response to a security event. The sensor may be configured to execute the benefit denial event automatically or in response to receiving an instruction.

Inventors:
BERGLUND, David, N. (4005 City Lights Drive, Indian Trail, NC, 28079, US)
GRANT, Jeffrey, A. (3315 Winnipeg Circle, Charlotte, NC, 28210, US)
Application Number:
US2016/047546
Publication Date:
February 23, 2017
Filing Date:
August 18, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
INVUE SECURITY PRODUCTS INC. (15015 Lancaster Highway, Charlotte, NC, 28277, US)
International Classes:
G08B13/14; E05B73/00; G08B25/10
Foreign References:
US20120293330A12012-11-22
US20100300159A12010-12-02
US20140176719A12014-06-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIRK, Trent, A. (Invue Security Products Inc, 15015 Lancaster HighwayCharlotte, NC, 28277, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
That which is claimed is:

1. A merchandise display security system for protecting an article of merchandise from theft, the merchandise display security system comprising:

a sensor configured to be coupled to and communicate with an article of merchandise; and

a controller configured to receive a signal from the sensor and/or the article of merchandise in response to a security event,

wherein the sensor and/or the controller is configured to provide an instruction for executing the benefit denial event on the article of merchandise, and

wherein the sensor and/or the controller is further configured to execute the benefit denial event on the article of merchandise.

2. The merchandise display security system of Claim 1, wherein the article of merchandise, the sensor, and/or the controller each comprises wireless communication circuitry configured to wirelessly communicate with one another.

3. The merchandise display security system of Claim 1, wherein the security event comprises removing the sensor from the article of merchandise.

4. The merchandise display security system of Claim 1, wherein the benefit denial event comprises physically damaging the article of merchandise.

5. The merchandise display security system of Claim 1, wherein the benefit denial event comprises mechanically, electrically, and/or chemically damaging the article of merchandise.

6. A merchandise display security system for protecting an article of merchandise from theft, the merchandise display security system comprising:

an article of merchandise; and

a sensor configured to be coupled to the article of merchandise and to execute a benefit denial event on the article of merchandise in response to a security event.

7. The merchandise display security system of Claim 6, wherein the benefit denial event is configured to physically damage the article of merchandise.

8. The merchandise display security system of Claim 6, wherein the article of merchandise is configured to instruct the sensor to execute the benefit denial event.

9. The merchandise display security system of Claim 6, wherein the sensor is configured to automatically execute the benefit denial event after a predetermined period of time.

10. The merchandise display security system of Claim 6, further comprising a controller configured to receive a signal from the article of merchandise in response to the security event.

11. The merchandise display security system of Claim 10, wherein the controller is configured to provide a signal to the sensor and/or article of merchandise authorizing execution of the benefit denial event.

12. The merchandise display security system of Claim 10, wherein the controller is configured to communicate the benefit denial event signal to a retailer and/or one or more sales associates for determining whether to authorize the benefit denial event.

13. A method for protecting an article of merchandise from theft, the method comprising:

providing a sensor coupled to an article of merchandise; and

executing a benefit denial event on the article of merchandise in response to a security event.

14. The method of Claim 13, further comprising transmitting a signal from the article of merchandise to the sensor authorizing execution of the benefit denial event.

15. The method of Claim 13, wherein the security event comprises removing the sensor from the article of merchandise.

16. The method of Claim 13, wherein the benefit denial event comprises physically damaging the article of merchandise.

17. The method of Claim 13, wherein executing the benefit denial event comprises mechanically, electrically, and/or chemically damaging the article of merchandise.

18. The method of Claim 13, wherein executing comprises automatically executing the benefit denial event after a predetermined period of time.

19. The method of Claim 13, further comprising receiving a benefit denial message and/or signal from the sensor in response to the security event.

20. The method of Claim 19, further comprising communicating the benefit denial message and/or signal to a retailer and/or one or more sales associates for determining whether to authorize the benefit denial event.

21. The method of Claim 13, further comprising receiving an instruction to execute the benefit denial event.

22. The method of Claim 13, wherein executing comprises executing the benefit denial event using the sensor.

Description:
SECURITY SYSTEM WITH BENEFIT DENIAL FUNCTIONALITY

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit to priority of United States Provisional Patent Application No. 62/207,718 filed on August 20, 2015, and United States Provisional Patent Application No. 62/207,960 filed on August 21, 2015, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to merchandise display security systems for displaying and protecting an article of merchandise from theft.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Retailers routinely display handheld electronic merchandise, such as mobile (e.g. cellular) telephones, gaming consoles, personal data assistants (PDAs), global positioning system (GPS) devices, e-readers, tablets, media players, digital video recorders (DVRs), cameras and the like, for customers to examine before making a purchase. In some instances, the retailer desires the handheld electronic merchandise to be provided with electrical power so that a potential purchaser can evaluate the operation and features of the merchandise as well. At the same time, the retailer does not want the article of merchandise being displayed to be stolen or removed from the display by an unauthorized person. Accordingly, the article of merchandise is attached to a merchandise display security device that protects the article of merchandise from theft and unauthorized removal from the display.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Embodiments of the present invention are directed to merchandise display security systems for protecting an article of merchandise on display in a retail store from theft. In one embodiment, the merchandise display security system includes a sensor and a controller. The sensor is coupled to and is configured to communicate with the article of merchandise. The controller is configured to receive a signal from the sensor and/or the article of merchandise in response to a security event. The sensor and/or controller is configured to provide an instruction for executing a benefit denial event on the article merchandise and is further configured to execute the benefit denial event on the article of merchandise. In some embodiments, the sensor is configured to execute the benefit denial event.

[0005] According to another embodiment, a merchandise display security system for protecting an article of merchandise from theft includes an article of merchandise and a sensor. The sensor is configured to be coupled to the article of merchandise and to execute a benefit denial event on the article of merchandise in response to a security event.

[0006] In another embodiment, a method for protecting an article of merchandise from theft includes providing a sensor wherein the sensor is coupled to an article of merchandise. The method further includes executing a benefit denial event on the article of merchandise in response to a security event.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a merchandise display security system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a merchandise display security system according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of a merchandise display security system according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a cable collection tube and a sensor according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 5 is a top view of a base according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 6 is a top view of a base according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 7 is a top view of an alarm module according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a sensor according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of an article of merchandise and a sensor according to one embodiment of the present invention. [0016] FIG. 10 is a side view of a merchandise display security system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 11 is a schematic of a merchandise display security system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0018] FIGS. 12A-12D illustrate various side views of a sequence of installing a merchandise display security system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0019] Embodiments of the present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which various embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

[0020] Referring now to the accompanying drawing figures wherein like reference numerals denote like elements throughout the various views, one or more exemplary embodiments of a merchandise display security system for displaying and protecting an article of merchandise is shown. More particularly, one embodiment is a merchandise display security device, indicated generally by reference character 20, for monitoring whether an article of merchandise, indicated generally by reference character "M", is attached to the security device. As shown and described herein, the merchandise display security device 20 may include electronics for monitoring a sensor 25 attached to the article of merchandise "M" and for activating an alarm in the event that the article of merchandise "M" is separated (e.g., detached) from the sensor 25. If desired, a merchandise display security device 20 according to an embodiment of the invention may also provide electrical power to the article of merchandise "M" so that a potential purchaser may evaluate the article of merchandise "M" in a powered state without relying solely on power provided by the internal battery of the merchandise. Thus, the merchandise display security device 20 may be applicable to any merchandise display stand, module, pedestal or the like that permits a potential purchaser to examine an article of merchandise "M" in an unpowered state or to operate an article of merchandise "M" in a powered state.

[0021] FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a merchandise display security device 20 for displaying and protecting an article of merchandise "M" from theft or unauthorized removal from a display or other support surface 26, for example a tabletop, counter, shelf or the like, located in a retail store. The article of merchandise "M" is typically a display model or sample of handheld electronic merchandise, such as a mobile (e.g. cellular) telephone, smart phones, gaming console, personal data assistant (PDA), global positioning system (GPS) device, e- reader, tablet, media player, digital video recorder (DVR), handheld camera and the like, for customers to examine. The article of merchandise "M" is attached to the merchandise display security device 20 and may be displayed in a powered state so that potential purchasers are able to evaluate the operation and features of the article of merchandise "M" when making a decision whether to purchase.

[0022] In some embodiments, the merchandise display security device 20 includes an optional power adapter cord 22 to provide electrical power to the article of merchandise "M" while the article of merchandise "M" is on display (see, e.g., FIG. 4). The power adapter cord 22 has an electrical connector 24 at one end configured to be received within a complementary connector jack at the power input port of the article of merchandise. In the illustrated embodiments shown in FIGS. 2-3, the article of merchandise "M" may be a cellular type mobile telephone or tablet. The article of merchandise "M" may have a power input port for receiving the power adapter cord 22 for electrically connecting to an external power source, for example, an AC/DC transformer commonly referred to as a "charger," electrically connected to an external power source. In addition, the article of merchandise "M" may be provided with an internal battery that is recharged through the power adapter cord 22 by the external power source. The power adapter cord 22, in this instance, would also have an electrical connector 24 at one end that is configured for electrical connection to the power input port (see, e.g., FIG. 4). In the examples illustrated herein, the power input port is a female jack configured to receive a male plug, such as a USB jack and complementary USB plug. However, embodiments of the present invention are intended to be construed broadly to include any type of standard or custom connector interface now known or hereafter devised. It is only necessary that the power adapter cord 22 has an appropriate interface at one end to electrically connect the power adapter cord 22 to the article of merchandise "M" being displayed on the merchandise display security device 20.

[0023] In one embodiment, the end of the power adapter cord 22 opposite the electrical connector 24 is "hard-wired" directly into a sensor 25 to which the article of merchandise "M" is attached. Alternatively, the end of the power adapter cord 22 opposite the electrical connector 24 may be provided with a connector interface configured for electrically connecting the power adapter cord 22 to the sensor 25 of the merchandise display security device 20. In this manner, the power adapter cord 22 may be easily and quickly disconnected and discarded or replaced with another power adapter cord 22 appropriate for a different type or model of handheld electronic merchandise. In another embodiment, the power adapter cord 22 and the cable 60 may be integrally formed with one another, and the power adapter cord 22 may simply be routed through the sensor 25. In some cases, the sensor 25 may not include any electronics. In one example, the sensor 25 may be similar to that disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2013/0241731, entitled Merchandise Security Device including Strain Relief Block, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein.

[0024] In one embodiment, the merchandise display security device 20 comprises a mounting element 30 positioned adjacent to a base 40, the base 40 configured for removably supporting the sensor 25 and the article of merchandise "M" thereon in a display orientation. In one embodiment, the mounting element 30 is coupled to a cable collection tube 50 configured to receive, contain and retain therein a cable 60 that electrically connects the sensor 25 and, consequently, the article of merchandise "M", to an external power source through the power adapter cord 22. In the event it is not necessary or desired to provide electrical power to the article of merchandise "M", the power adapter cord 22 may be omitted altogether. Alternatively, the merchandise display security device 20 and/or the article or merchandise "M" may be powered by the external power source through the power adapter cord 22.

[0025] At least a portion of the cable 60 comprises a length of an elastic or otherwise extensible electrical cable that is contained within the cable collection tube 50 and coupled to the sensor 25. As shown in FIG. 4, a portion of the cable 60 may be a helical coil cable similar to a conventional telephone handset cord comprising an outer sheath made of an insulating material surrounding a plurality of conductors for a purpose to be described hereafter. One end of the cable 60 may include a connector 62, for example, a modular (RJ) telephone plug, configured to electrically connect the conductors of the cable 60 to an alarm module 70. The other end of the cable 60 may be "hard-wired" into the sensor 25. However, if desired, the other end of the cable 60 may comprise a connector 62, for example, likewise a modular (RJ) telephone plug, configured to electrically connect the conductors of the cable 60 to electronics disposed within the sensor 25. Or, as noted above, the power adapter cord 22 and the cable 60 may be integrally formed with one another such that one or more conductors extend from the connector 62 to the electrical connector 24, and the power adapter cord 22 may be routed through the sensor 25.

[0026] The base 40 (sometimes referred to a "puck") comprises a body that may include an upwardly extending pedestal portion or wedge 42 for removably supporting the sensor 25 and the article of merchandise "M" in the desired display orientation above the support surface 26 (see, e.g., FIGS. 1-3). However, it is understood that the pedestal portion 42 could be eliminated if desired and the base 40 placed directly on the support surface 26. If desired, the base 40 and the sensor 25 may be formed with opposing geometry, or alternatively, provided with one or more magnets for aligning the sensor 25 and the article of merchandise "M" in the desired display orientation. The base 40 may be any desired shape and configuration depending on the article of merchandise "M" to be supported. As shown, the base 40 may be configured to support a camera, a smart phone, or a tablet. For instance, FIG. 5 shows a base 40 suitable for a camera, while FIG. 6 shows a base 40 suitable for a phone or tablet.

[0027] In one embodiment, the alarm module 70 is mounted below the support surface 26. For example, the alarm module 70 may be mounted directly on the cable collection tube 50 (see, e.g., FIGS. 12C-12D). The cable collection tube 50 may include an alarm support surface 75 for receiving and supporting the alarm module 70. In some embodiments, the alarm module 70 may be integrated with or otherwise housed within the base 40.

[0028] As also illustrated and described above, the alarm module 70 may be electrically coupled to the cable 60. The alarm module 70 may be further coupled to a power cord 72 for receiving power from an external power source, which as also described above, may be used to pass power to the sensor 25 and/or article of merchandise "M". For instance, FIG. 7 shows that the alarm module 70 may include a cord 72 and suitable connector 73 for electrically connecting to an external power source. Furthermore, the alarm module 70 may include circuitry for detecting a security event, such as when the sensor 25 has been removed from the article of merchandise "M", the power adaptor cord 22 is removed from the article of merchandise, and/or the power adapter cord 22 or cable 60 has been cut. The alarm module 70 may further include functionality for providing an audible and/or a visible alarm.

[0029] In some embodiments, electronics (e.g., housed within base 40 and/or alarm module 70) may be electrically connected to the sensor 25 by one or more conductors disposed within one or more cables, such as the power adapter cord 22 or cable 60. As such, electronics may operate to monitor the state of a sensor switch 27, for example, a conventional proximity or limit switch, provided on the sensor 25 through cable 60 and electronics to activate an audible and/or a visible alarm in the event that the article of merchandise "M" is separated from the sensor 25. In one embodiment, the base 40 may include electronics that are electrically connected to electronics in the alarm module 70 by an electrical cable or conduit 44 comprising at least one conductor (see, e.g., FIGS. 5-6). Electrical cable 44 may be disposed on the inside or the outside of the collection tube 50. Moreover, an end of the electrical cable 44 may include a connector 45 for releasably connecting to the alarm module 70. However, in other embodiments, the sensor 25 may not include any sensor electronics and the base 40 and/or alarm module 70 may be configured to detect security events. For example, the base 40 and/or alarm module 70 may be configured to detect disconnection or cutting of the power adapter cord 22 and/or the cable 60.

[0030] Base 40 may further comprise a base switch 41, for example, a conventional proximity or limit switch when the base 40 is engaged with the support surface 26. Base switch 41 may be electrically connected to electronics in the alarm module 70, which operate to monitor the state of the base switch 41 and to activate an audible and/or a visible alarm in the event that base 40 is separated from the support surface 26 of the display. Base 40 may also comprise a communication port 48 for permitting communication with electronics to arm and disarm the alarm module 70 so that an authorized person can separate (e.g., detach) the article of merchandise "M" from the sensor 25, or separate (e.g., remove) the base 40 from the support surface 26 of the display. For example, the communication port 48 may communicate via a wireless signal, such as via infrared communication, with a key 49. In some cases, the base 40 and/or the alarm module 70 may contain a security code, and the key 49 may communicate the code to the base 40 and/or the alarm module 70 via the communication port 48 for arming or disarming the alarm module 70 when the codes match. In one embodiment, the communication port 48 is accessible when the sensor 25 is removed from the base 40, although it is understood that the communication port 48 may be located at any desirable position on the base 40, or at another accessible location on the support surface 26.

[0031] FIG. 10 shows another embodiment of a merchandise display security device 20. In this embodiment, the sensor 25 may be directly connected to the base 40 with cable 60, and the alarm module 70 may be directly connected to the base 40 with electrical cable 44. Thus, the cable collection tube 50 may be optional in some embodiments, and the cable 60 may be located above the support surface 26. Moreover, FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of a sensor 25 attached to an article of merchandise "M", while FIG. 8 shows the sensor 25 removed from the article of merchandise. The sensor 25 may be attached to the article of merchandise "M" using various techniques such as adhesive and/or one or more bracket arms. The sensor 25 may include one or more openings for receiving respective bracket arms that are configured to engage the edges of the article of merchandise "M".

[0032] FIGS. 12A-12D illustrate various views for securing a merchandise security device 20 in position on a support surface 26 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this regard, FIG. 12A shows that base 40 and optional pedestal 42 may be secured to the support surface 26, such as with a pressure- sensitive adhesive. FIG. 12B shows that the cable collection tube 50 may then be secured to the support surface 26. For example, a hole may be formed in the support surface 26 so that the mounting element 30 may also be secured to the support surface 26. FIG. 12C shows that the alarm module 70 may then be mounted on the alarm support surface 75, such as with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The electrical cable 44 extending from the base 40 may also be routed through the support surface 26 and connected to the alarm module 70. FIG. 12D shows that the article of merchandise "M" may be secured to a sensor 25, such as with a pressure-sensitive adhesive, and supported on the base 40. The cable 60 connected to the sensor 25 may be routed through the cable collection tube 50. A usable length of the cable 60 may be determined and secured using the cable collection tube 50. The end of the cable 60 may then be connected to the alarm module 70. The alarm module 70 may then be electrically connected to an external power source. In addition, the power adapter cord 22 may then be attached to the article of merchandise "M" by inserting the electrical connector 24 into an input port on the article. It is understood that the aforementioned steps are provided as an example only, that the steps may be performed in any order, that some steps may be omitted, and that other steps may be added to perform the method.

[0033] Moreover, in one embodiment, the sensor 25 and/or the article of merchandise "M" may include wireless communication circuitry 34 for communicating with a controller 80 (see, e.g., FIG. 8). The article of merchandise "M" may include circuitry 86 or the like (see, e.g., FIG. 9) configured to carry out various functions, such as providing instructions to the sensor 25. As explained in further detail below, the wireless communication circuitry 34 may be configured to wirelessly communicate with the controller 80 in response to a security event. For example, a security event may occur when the sensor 25 is removed from the article of merchandise "M" in an unauthorized manner, the power adapter cord 22 is removed from the article of merchandise "M" or cut in an unauthorized manner, or the article of merchandise "M" is removed from an authorized area. In some embodiments, the sensor 25 includes a sensor switch 27 (e.g., a plunger switch) that is configured to detect when the sensor 25 is removed from the article of merchandise "M" in an unauthorized manner.

[0034] According to one embodiment, the article of merchandise "M" and/or sensor 25 may be configured to emit a wireless signal in response to a security event. In one embodiment, the controller 80 may include wireless communication circuitry 81 (see, e.g., FIG. 11) that is configured to communicate with the wireless communication circuitry 34 of the article of merchandise "M" and/or the sensor 25. For example, the controller 80 may be configured to receive the wireless signal emitted by the article of merchandise "M" and/or sensor 25 and to generate an alarm signal (e.g., an audible and/or a visible alarm) in response thereto. The controller 80 may also or alternatively be configured to communicate with a retailer or manager 82 or on one or more sales associates 88 to determine whether to carry out a "benefit denial event", as explained in further detail below.

[0035] In some embodiments, the sensor 25 may be configured to execute a "benefit denial event". The benefit denial event destroys or diminishes the value of the stolen article of merchandise "M" so a thief or theft ring learns not to target the store using the benefit denial security system. The benefit denial event may be triggered by one or more actions, such as the occurrence of a security event, the article of merchandise "M" moving outside of an authorized area, or in response to an instruction. In other cases, the benefit denial event may occur automatically. The security event may be evidenced by the alarm module 70 generating a security signal. In some instances, the sensor 25 and/or alarm module 70 may not generate a security signal so that the would-be thief is not alerted prior to determining whether to execute a benefit denial event. In the cases where the article of merchandise "M" is wirelessly constrained to a particular location or area, the article of merchandise "M" may utilize various location-based technologies, such as GPS. In other embodiments, the article of merchandise "M" may leverage its own hardware to determine its location. For example, the article of merchandise "M" may utilize techniques similar to that disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 8,878,673, entitled Systems and Methods for Protecting Retail Display Merchandise From Theft, the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety herein.

[0036] The benefit denial event may be used to physically disable, damage, or otherwise render the article of merchandise "M" inoperable or unusable, whether by software, mechanical, chemical, and/or electrical means. According to one example, the benefit denial event may be configured to physically damage the article of merchandise "M", such as cracking a screen on the article of merchandise "M". For instance, where a sensor 25 includes bracket arms, the sensor 25 may be configured to execute a benefit denial event whereby the bracket arms physically damage the article of merchandise "M". The sensor 25 could include a motor or other device for moving the bracket arms in a way that damages the article (e.g., a vice grip). The sensor 25 may alternatively include means for drilling into the article of merchandise "M" for damaging the article in another way. In other cases, the benefit denial event may carry out other functions such as emitting a permanently staining dye or a revolting odor. In another example, the sensor 25 may be configured to provide an electrical signal or electroshock that electrically damages the article of merchandise "M". Additionally, the sensor 25 may alternatively be configured to physically damage the input power or data port on the article of merchandise. For instance, the sensor 25 may provide high voltage to the power or data input port of the article of merchandise "M". In another example, the sensor 25 may be configured to instruct, execute, or otherwise initiate the wiping of the operating system of the article of merchandise "M".

[0037] In one embodiment, the retailer 82 may be given a predetermined period of time in order to determine whether to authorize the benefit denial event. For example, the default may be that the sensor 25 shall execute the benefit denial event after a predetermined period of time (e.g., 10 minutes) unless the retailer 82 provides an instruction otherwise. A count down timer may also be implemented in some embodiments. Thus, if no instruction is received from the retailer 82 within this time period, the sensor 25 is configured to carry out the benefit denial event. The retailer 82 may be able to provide an instruction not to carry out the benefit denial event by communicating with the sensor 25 with a key 49, such as the key 49 discussed above. The retailer 82 may alternatively be able to provide an instruction not to carry out the benefit denial event by communicating with the base 40 or alarm module 70 with a key 49, such as the key 49 discussed above.

[0038] Therefore, the sensor 25 and/or controller 80 may be configured to cooperate with a retailer or manager 82 and/or on one or more sales associates 88 to determine whether to execute a benefit denial event on an article of merchandise "M" that has experienced a security event. For instance, the controller 80 may receive a signal from the article of merchandise "M" or the sensor 25 indicating that a security event has occurred, and the controller 80 may in turn communicate a benefit denial message and/or signal to a retailer 82 and/or one or more sales associates 88. The benefit denial message and/or signal may be used to convey that a security event associated with an article of merchandise "M" has occurred. The benefit denial message and/or signal may also include various information such as a unique identifier associated with the article of merchandise "M" experiencing the security event. The retailer 82 and/or one or more sales associates 88 may then determine whether to authorize the benefit denial event on the article of merchandise "M". For example, upon receiving notification from the controller 80, a sales associate 88 may check the article of merchandise "M" to determine whether a security event has occurred or whether there has been a false alarm. Thus, in this instance, the article of merchandise "M" or sensor 25 may communicate with the controller 80 to provide notification to the retailer 82 and/or one or more sales associates 88 so that the retailer 82 and/or one or more sales associates 88 may make the decision whether to authorize the benefit denial event. Upon authorizing the benefit denial event, the retailer 82 and/or sales associate 88 may communicate with the article of merchandise "M", sensor 25, and/or controller 80 to execute the benefit denial event. For instance, the retailer 82 and/or sales associate 88 may communicate an instruction to the sensor 25 for executing the benefit denial event, which may be via direct communication with the sensor 25 or indirect communication via the controller 80.

[0039] In other embodiments, the benefit denial event may be automatically carried out upon the occurrence of a security event. Thus, the sensor 25 and/or the controller 80 could communicate directly with the article of merchandise "M" to execute the benefit denial event.

[0040] In one embodiment, the sensor 25 and the article of merchandise "M" are configured to be paired with one another. For example, the article of merchandise "M" may include a unique identifier (e.g., a serial number) that is communicated to the sensor 25, such as through the power adapter cord 22 or wireless communication circuitry 34. The sensor 25 may in turn be configured to communicate the unique identifier to the controller 80. Thus, the sensor 25 may be configured to determine the unique identifier of the article of merchandise "M" so that if the benefit denial event is carried out, the benefit denial event is carried out on the correct article of merchandise "M". In other cases, the sensor 25 and the article of merchandise "M" may be configured to communicate with one another so that the sensor 25 may directly execute the benefit denial event. Thus, the controller 80 may be optional in some instances. In addition, the article of merchandise "M" and the sensor 25 may be configured to communicate with one another such that the sensor 25 is configured to receive an authorization signal from the article of merchandise "M" to execute the benefit denial event. Thus, upon receiving authorization from the article of merchandise "M", the sensor 25 carries out the benefit denial event.

[0041] It is understood that the controller 80 may be located at any desired location, such as at an exit of retail store or in the vicinity of the article of merchandise "M" on display. In some cases, the controller 80 may be located proximate to the article of merchandise "M" on display, such as below a support surface 26. In addition, any number of controllers 80 may be employed. For example, one controller 80 may be configured to communicate with a plurality of sensors 25. Alternatively, one controller 80 may be paired with one sensor 25. Moreover, various means of wireless communication may be utilized between the sensor 25 and the controller 80, as well as between the controller 80 and the retailer 82 and/or sales associates 88. Moreover, use of the term "controller" is not intended to be limiting, as the controller 80 may be any beacon, door manager, tower, or the like that is configured to communicate with the article of merchandise, sensor 25, and a retailer 82 and/or one or more sales associates 88. In some embodiments, the controller 80 may be integrated with the base 40 or alarm module 70.

[0042] According to one embodiment, the wireless communication circuitry 34 may include a radio transmitter that is configured to emit a signal at a frequency that is detectable by a radio receiver in the controller 80. Upon receipt of the signal, the controller 80 would communicate with a retailer 82 and/or more or more sales associates 88, and may also or alternatively generate an alarm signal. Other wireless communication techniques are possible such as, for example, Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), near field communication, Wi-Fi, or the like. The controller 80 may be configured to "listen" for the wireless signal emitted by the sensor 25 and notify a retailer 82 and/or sales associate(s) 88 upon receiving the signal. Thus, in some cases, one-way communication from the sensor 25 to the controller 80 occurs.

[0043] In one embodiment, the sensor 25 and the controller 80 are configured to be paired with one another. For example, the sensor 25 may include a unique identifier (e.g., a serial number) that is communicated to the controller 80, such as via respective wireless communication circuitry. The sensor 25 may be configured to emit a signal to the controller 80 whereby the controller 80 recognizes the sensor's identifier. Thus, no benefit denial event is carried out and/or alarm signal is generated when the controller 80 is receiving the signal from the sensor 25. However, the controller 80 may be configured to detect when the signal is no longer received and to communicate with the retailer 82 and/or sales associates 88 and/or generate an alarm signal in response thereto. In one example, the sensor 25 and controller 80 may be paired with one another when the sensor 25 is connected to the article of merchandise "M". This pairing may occur each time the sensor 25 is connected to an article of merchandise "M".

[0044] In some embodiments, the controller 80 may be configured to communicate with a retailer's or sales associate's laptop, tablet, or like electronic device (e.g., directly or through a cloud network). In one particular embodiment, the controller 80 is configured to communicate with one or more retailer's or sales associate's electronic devices over a network, such as a cloud network 84. For instance, the cloud network 84 may facilitate communication with a plurality of tablet devices used by sales associates 88 within a retail environment. For example, the controller 80 or retailer 82 may send a text message to one or more sales associates 88. In other embodiments, the article of merchandise "M" and/or sensor 25 may communicate directly with the retailer 82 and/or sales associates 88. Communication over the cloud network 84 may occur wirelessly (e.g., via radiofrequency or cellular communication). One or more gateways may be used to facilitate communication between the controller 80 and the retailer's electronic device(s). For instance, a gateway (e.g., a router) between the controller 80 and the cloud network 84 may be configured to facilitate communication with a retailer's gateway and may be configured to allow the retailer 82 to provide and receive data from the controller 80. The retailer 82 may be able to direct various commands via the cloud network 84 such as, for example, determining whether to authorize a benefit denial event on an article of merchandise "M" and/or to generate an audible and/or a visible alarm.

[0045] Embodiments of a merchandise display security system including at least the aforementioned features have been shown and described herein for purposes of illustrating and enabling the best mode of the invention. Those of ordinary skill in the art, however, will readily understand and appreciate that numerous variations and modifications of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, all such variations and modifications are intended to be encompassed by the appended claims.