Patents Examined by Penny Caudle
  • Patent number: 6185544
    Abstract: The processing system for charge request data of the present invention comprises data input means for inputting charge request data, including charge transfer day, requesting organization, paying organization and an amount of transfer, a master file where information relating to requesting organizations and paying organizations are registered, charge transfer processing means for preparing a charge transfer detailed file including individual charge request data where said charge request data are classified to each requesting organization based on said master file and summary data summarizing number of transfers and amount of transfer for each type of the requesting organization, and for preparing a transfer slip containing charge transfer information of each requesting organization for each paying organization from said charge transfer detailed file, initial cost data containing information necessary for processing for financial accounting, and overall charge transfer data on the day of transfer, and input/ou
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2001
    Assignees: Shimizu Construction Co., Ltd., NIT Data Corporation
    Inventors: Yoshitsugu Sakamoto, Shinsuke Kawahara, Kimio Handa, Hideto Nishizawa, Haruro Sato, Toshiyuki Furuya, Tsutomu Hosoi, Takashi Yamada, Fujio Wakabayashi
  • Patent number: 6134534
    Abstract: A conditional purchase offer (CPO) management system is disclosed for receiving CPOs from one or more customers, such as cruise and airline passengers, and for evaluating the received CPOs against a number of CPO rules defined by a plurality of sellers, such as cruise operators and airlines, to determine whether any seller is willing to accept a given CPO. A CPO is a binding offer containing one or more conditions submitted by a customer for purchase of an item, such as airline travel, at a customer-defined price. A CPO rule is a set of restrictions defined by a given seller, such as a cruise operator or an airline, to define a combination of restrictions for which the seller is willing to accept a predefined price. The CPO rules may be securely stored by one or more servers. The CPO management system permits a seller to correct for forecasting errors, if necessary, or other competitive forces which have produced excess capacity, by providing inventory for sale to CPO customers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Assignee: priceline.com Incorporated
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, Thomas M. Sparico, T. Scott Case, Bruce Schneier
  • Patent number: 6134536
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus which deal with the management of risk relating to specified, yet unknown, future events are disclosed.`Sponsor` stakeholders specify a particular product relating to an event or phenomenon for which there is a range of possible future outcomes.`Ordering` stakeholders then offer contracts relating to the predetermined phenomenon and corresponding range of outcomes. The offered contracts specify an entitlement or (pay-off) at the future time of maturity for each outcome, and a consideration (or premium) payable, in exchange, to a `counter-party` stakeholder.Independently of the offered contracts, the `counter-party` stakeholders input data as to their view of the likelihood of occurrence of each outcome in the predetermined range into the future, or specifically at the predetermined date of maturity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Assignee: Swychco Infrastructure Services Pty Ltd.
    Inventor: Ian Kenneth Shepherd
  • Patent number: 6134531
    Abstract: A computerized method enables an audience to synchronously interact with a broadcast program in realtime. A broadcast clock of a broadcast system is synchronized to a standard time. A server clock of a server computer is synchronized to the standard time using a network timing protocol. A client computer clock of a client computer is synchronized to the server clock. The program is broadcast synchronously to the broadcast clock. Web pages are provided by the server computer to the client computer. Responses generated by the client computer are time-stamped according to the synchronized time of the client computer so that the responses can be time-correlated to segments of the program.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Assignee: Digital Equipment Corporation
    Inventors: Glenn Trewitt, David R. Jefferson, Raymond Paul Stata, Edward M. Gould
  • Patent number: 6131086
    Abstract: To allow viewers to easily purchase products shown in entertainment programs, the viewers call an operator terminal. The operator terminal is networked to a central controller, which is also networked to remote terminals. Remote terminal operators enter data about props used in programs, copies of which are to be offered for sale. These remote terminals transmit this data to the central controller for storage in a database. Operators at the operator terminals can access the data stored at the central controller to respond calls from viewers seeking to purchase products.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2000
    Assignee: Walker Digital, LLC
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, James A. Jorasch, Sanjay K. Jindal, Thomas M. Sparico
  • Patent number: 6112185
    Abstract: An automated service upgrade offer acceptance system is provided for receiving (i) reservations for a selected category of assigned services, such as seating, and (ii) offers for upgraded services, such as an upgrade of an initially selected category of seating to a preferred seating category, from confirmed customers. The automated service upgrade acceptance system permits customers to submit offers for a number of upgraded services or upgrade offer items, including offers for an upgrade of an initial category of seating to a different seating category, including premium seats within a given category of seating, as well as other premium services, such as priority for special meals or drinks, priority for receipt of luggage upon deplaning, and discount companion tickets. The automated service upgrade acceptance system allows a customer to place a binding offer for an upgraded offer item, should the item become available.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 29, 2000
    Assignee: Walker Digital, LLC
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, Sanjay K. Jindal
  • Patent number: 6092049
    Abstract: A method for recommending items to users using automated collaborative filtering stores profiles of users relating ratings to items in memory. Profiles of items may also be stored in memory, the item profiles associating users with the rating given to the item by that user or inferred for the user by the system The user profiles include additional information relating to the user or associated with the rating given to an item by the user. Item profiles are retrieved to determine which users have rated a particular item. Profiles of those users are accessed and the ratings are used to calculate similarity factors with respect to other users. The similarity factors, sometimes in connection with confidence factors, are used to select a set of neighboring users. The neighboring users are weighted based on their respective similarity factors, and a rating for an item contained in the domain is predicted. In one embodiment, items in the domain have features.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2000
    Assignee: Microsoft Corporation
    Inventors: Alexander Chislenko, Yezdezard Lashkari, David D. Tiu, Max E. Metral, John Edward McNulty
  • Patent number: 6085169
    Abstract: A conditional purchase offer (CPO) management system is disclosed for receiving CPOs from one or more customers, such as airline passengers, and for evaluating the received CPOs against a number of CPO rules defined by a plurality of sellers, such as airlines, to determine whether any seller is willing to accept a given CPO. A CPO is a binding offer containing one or more conditions submitted by a customer for purchase of an item, such as airline travel, at a customer-definied price. A CPO rule is a set of restrictions defined by a given seller, such as an airline, to define a combination of restrictions for which the seller is willing to accept a predefined price. The CPO rules may be securely stored by one or more servers. The CPO management system permits a seller to correct for forecasting errors, if necessary, or other competitive forces which have produced excess capacity, by providing inventory for sale to CPO customers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2000
    Assignee: priceline.com Incorporated
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, Bruce Schneier, James A. Jorasch, T. Scott Case
  • Patent number: 6081791
    Abstract: An improved, automated teller machine (ATM) for enhanced telephony access is provided. The ATM provides for conventional financial transactions with financial institutions as well as the purchase of prepaid calling cards for telephony services. In the latter regard, the improved ATM is operable to receive a prepaid calling card purchase transaction request input by a customer and to transmit a message to a transaction service network for authorization of such transaction. Pursuant to authorization, the ATM is operable to automatically initiate a call to a telephony network to establish a prepaid calling card account. In particular, the ATM is operable to call a predetermined station number corresponding with a prepaid calling card service provider. Such predetermined number may correspond with an AIN-capable switch that allows the ATM to interface with a service control point maintained by the prepaid calling card service provider within the telephony network.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2000
    Assignees: U S WEST, Inc, MediaOne Group, Inc
    Inventor: Theresa A. Clark
  • Patent number: 6064978
    Abstract: A method for regulating the asking and motivating the answering of questions via a computer network. The number and complexity of questions asked is controlled by a question regulation method, and the number and quality of answers provided is controlled by an answer evaluation method. The question regulation method permits users to post more numerous or more complex questions based on factors such as viewing of advertising, or provision of marketing information. The answer measurement method may be used to reward those who supply numerous or high-quality answers with premiums, public recognition, or employment opportunities.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2000
    Assignee: Experts Exchange, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel K. Gardner, Clinton A Staley, Matthew A. Wormley
  • Patent number: 6058376
    Abstract: Disclosed is a computer-implemented process for evaluating the financial consequences of converting a standard format IRA to a new Roth form IRA. The process includes computing and disclosing the substantial federal income tax consequences involved in converting the standard form IRA to the Roth form. It further includes multiple options that how a given IRA holder can cope with the substantial tax consequences, including without limitation how he or she will fare if he or she obtains term insurance on the federal tax liability of early withdrawal by reason of premature death, or if he or she deducts the federal taxes and insurance premium from the rollover amount, or in the alternative how he or she will fare by financing the federal tax consequences and insurance premium in order to preserve intact the entire IRA amount for rollover.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2000
    Inventor: David A. Crockett
  • Patent number: 6055510
    Abstract: A method for enabling targeted marketing of users on the Internet maintains the privacy of the users. The present invention takes advantage of the unique customer knowledge of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with respect to both the customers identity and their likes and dislikes, while preserving the privacy of those customers. Data mining is performed on customers, including the sites that they visit. For example, customers with children are identified by visits to the Disney site. The availability of this list is then used to attract businesses with interest in this customer base. An offer, perhaps with enticements such as coupons or contests, is prepared on a Web site. The ISP then makes the customer aware of that offer via an E-mail with short text describing that offer and a Hypertext link to that page. The customer is informed that they may take advantage of the offer and as a convenience and service to the customer and the advertiser, the ISP will provide their identity to the advertiser.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2000
    Assignee: AT&T Corp.
    Inventors: Robert F. Henrick, Ajay Jain
  • Patent number: 6055518
    Abstract: The apparatus and method of the present invention provide secure auction service for use in a network having servers and bidding terminals. The auction service makes transactions among servers and bidding terminals subject to a distributed protocol. The distributed protocol distributes submitted bids among the multiple servers, closes a bidding period, verifies validity of monetary value of each submitted bid by utilizing said distributed protocol and determines a winning bidder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2000
    Assignee: AT&T Corporation
    Inventors: Matthew K. Franklin, Michael K. Reiter
  • Patent number: 6049778
    Abstract: In accordance with the present invention, a central controller stores a series of registrations, each of which corresponds to a purchaser of a product. The central controller calculates a measurement of product success, such as the number of products sold or the market share of the product. The central controller determines if the measurement is within a predetermined range. For example, the central controller may determine if the number of products sold exceeds a predetermined threshold. A selected set of registrations which are "early-adopter" registrations are selected. The set of registrations thereby defines a set of early-adopter purchasers. For example, the central controller may select a set of registrations having ordinal positions within a predetermined range of positions, such as the first hundred registrations. Thus, one hundred early-adopter purchasers are defined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2000
    Assignee: Walker Asset Management Limited Partnership
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, Andrew S. Van Luchene, James A. Jorasch, Dean Alderucci
  • Patent number: 6041308
    Abstract: A system and method are disclosed for encouraging buyers to submit CPOs to a CPO management system for a desired product. The CPO management system processes each received CPO to determine whether one or more sellers are willing to accept a given CPO. The disclosed CPO management system compensates buyers if the buyer's conditional purchase offer is rejected, or expires before an acceptance is received. If a CPO is rejected by the sellers, or has expired before an acceptance is received, the CPO management system evaluates one or more stored compensation offers to determine if the buyer is eligible for rejection compensation. The compensation offers may optionally require that the conditional purchase offer satisfies one or more additional predefined eligibility criteria. If the predefined criteria is met, the rejection compensation is provided to the buyer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 21, 2000
    Assignee: priceline.com Incorporated
    Inventors: Jay S. Walker, T. Scott Case, Tracy Hartmann, Daniel E. Tedesco
  • Patent number: 6035283
    Abstract: This invention involves an electronic catalog system which employs the knowledge and experience of a "Sales Agent", which is provided to a computer data base, and used with an inference engine to assist and guide actual customers to products that they will most likely be interested in purchasing. This system is employs hypothetical questions and answers, based on the sales agents experience with generic customers, as well as criteria and constraints provided by both the Sales Agent and the electronic catalog content.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2000
    Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation
    Inventor: John Joseph Rofrano
  • Patent number: 6018724
    Abstract: The present invention comprises a method and apparatus for authenticating data related to on-line transactions. The invention utilizes a user-customized certification indicator that informs a user as to the success or failure of one or more authentication and/or security protocols implemented on a user communications access device such as a personal computer, a personal digital assistant ("PDA"), an enhanced function telephone, etc. In one or more embodiments, one of the components of the indicator is user defined, and locally stored, reducing the likelihood of interception and counterfeiting. In one or more embodiments, the indicator components include a centrally provided graphic element and a user defined text overlay. When a user initiates an electronic transaction, a background validation process is initiated that implements procedures for determining the authenticity of data related to the transaction, such as the identity of a transaction party.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 25, 2000
    Assignee: Sun Micorsystems, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael A. Arent
  • Patent number: 6006208
    Abstract: The present invention is an automated system and method of initiating payments from a payor's checking account pursuant to the payor's authorization during a conversation via telephone, computer terminal or other telecommunication devices with a customer service representative. The automated system initiates a debit from the payor's checking account so that funds are automatically transferred to the payee without generating a paper bank draft check payable to the payee. Regardless as to where the payor banks, as long as the bank complies with American Banking Association Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Line regulations, the system automatically decodes the payor's checking account number and the bank's routing number.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 21, 1999
    Assignee: First USA Bank, N.A.
    Inventors: Jon K. Forst, Robert G. Hall, Jr.
  • Patent number: 6003016
    Abstract: A value added tax card to be used in expediting refund of value added tax on purchases. The method of refunding includes establishing computerized personal accounts and associated value added tax cards. Each personal account and value added tax card has associated therewith the purchaser's name, address, country of residence and passport number. A photograph of the purchaser appears on the value added tax card. The card is presented at the time of purchase to the seller who then sends the credit to the computerized personal account equal to the charged value added tax.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 14, 1999
    Assignee: Va-T-en, L.L.C.
    Inventor: Robert C. Hagemier
  • Patent number: 5999914
    Abstract: An electronic promotion system apparatus and method provide promotions across a computer network. The promotion system includes a shopper browser communicating with a merchant server. A shopper places an order using the shopper browser. The order is received by the merchant server. A purchasing pipeline executing in the merchant server process the order. The purchasing pipeline includes a promotion component. The promotion component determines the eligibility of the shopper for each one of multiple promotions using information stored in a promotion table. Furthermore, the eligibility of each item on the shopper order to trigger each one of the multiple promotions is determined. Additionally, the eligibility of each item on the shopper order to receive an award is determined. The awards are then applied appropriately. Each item may be used to trigger only one promotion where awards were granted. Furthermore, each item may only receive one award.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: Microsoft Corporation
    Inventors: Arnold Blinn, Michael Ari Cohen, Michael Lorton, Gregory J. Stein