Patents Examined by Phillip Groutt
  • Patent number: 6101484
    Abstract: A dynamic market equilibrium management system is especially adapted for the sale of goods and services through an online buying group (referred to herein as a "co-op`) formed for the specific purpose of purchasing a particular product at (102) by defining a start time, end time, critical mass, any minimum number of units offered, any maximum number of units offered, starting price and product cost curve. As data is gathered from buyers, by means of their making binding purchase offers, the co-op is modified at (108) using the market equilibrium manager, so as to take into account market forces such as supply and demand for the item to be sold and their interrelationship with the purchase price for such item. When used with the online buying group, the dynamic market equilibrium management system permits dynamic, real time yield management decisions based on true market data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2000
    Assignee: Mercata, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard V. Halbert, Niklas Gustafsson, John M. Thrun
  • Patent number: 6094639
    Abstract: A history information recording apparatus for recording history information about product equipment integrally therewith and the product equipment having this history information recording apparatus are provided. The history information recording apparatus comprises a first storage means for storing primary history information, a second storage means for storing secondary history information, an input module in which the primary history information and/or the second history information is inputted to be stored in the first storage means and/or the second storage means respectively, and a read module for reading the primary history information from the first storage means and the secondary history information from the second storage means. The first and second storage means, the input module, and the read module are arranged in the product information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 25, 2000
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Michitaka Kubota
  • Patent number: 6073113
    Abstract: The present invention provides a modular infrastructure for electronic commerce that allows electronic financial instruments to work with a variety of different protocols. One embodiment of the present invention receives a request for an operation, and checks compatibility between the operation and available protocols for the operation to determine a set of compatible protocols. Next, the system checks compatibility between the set of compatible protocols and available instruments for the operation to determine a set of compatible instruments. If the set of compatible instruments includes at least one instrument, the system selects a compatible instrument and a corresponding compatible protocol, and uses this instrument and protocol to perform the operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 6, 2000
    Assignee: Sun Microsystems, Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel J. Guinan
  • Patent number: 6064981
    Abstract: Freight forwarders and carriers post published rate and discount information for land, sea and air bearing cargo vessels to allow customers the opportunity to evaluate competitive prices, preferably in one consolidated location (e.g., a web site). A customer navigates to the site to obtain published or discounted rate information offered by a freight forwarder or carrier. The customer may accept a posted rate, in which case the site operator notifies the freight forwarder or carrier. Alternatively, customers, freight forwarders and carriers may negotiate rates for particular lanes of interest using an online interactive auction block.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2000
    Inventors: Neil A. Barni, Daniel M. Miller
  • Patent number: 6058372
    Abstract: A stand-alone, interactive, self-service kiosk for initializing and copying computer hard drives and methods for the operation of the kiosk are disclosed. The kiosk, which includes a microprocessor, data storage and printer, is programmed to conduct a dialogue with a customer instructing them to connect their original and replacement hard drives to the kiosk. Once the hard drives are connected, the microprocessor automatically identifies the original and replacement hard drives, configures the replacement hard drive and copies all programs and data from the original hard drive to the replacement hard drive. When the copying process is complete, a printed report is generated with further instructions on installation of the hard drive and detailed information about any errors that may have occurred during the process. In a second embodiment, the kiosk includes a device to accept a payment card from the customer, and a telephone modem to connect to a central office for verification of funds.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 1999
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2000
    Inventors: Stephen R. Sweet, Ralph J. Kloepping
  • Patent number: 6047266
    Abstract: An online buying group (referred to herein as a "co-op`) is formed for the specific purpose of purchasing a particular product at (102) by defining a start time, end time, critical mass, any minimum number of units offered, any maximum number of units offered, starting price and product cost curve. As data is gathered from buyers, by means of their making binding purchase offers, the co-op is modified at (108) using a pricing tool, so as to take into account for this market data in the definition of the price curve. A buyer chooses a product co-op of interest at (114). The buyer is presented with the following essential co-op information: current price, closing time, next price level (as defined by a price curve visibility window and the price curve) sufficient to entice the buyer to make an offer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2000
    Assignee: Mercata, Inc.
    Inventors: Tom Van Horn, Niklas Gustafsson, Dale Woodford
  • Patent number: 6041313
    Abstract: A computer-based 401(k) plan offers unlimited access to virtually all SEC-regulated investment options--with no restrictions on the number of mutual fund families or their investments that a company can choose for its plan. The system and method provide an end-user computer-based system with individualized accountability as opposed to prior art pooled systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 21, 2000
    Assignee: James A. Gilbert
    Inventors: James A. Gilbert, Manish Gupta
  • Patent number: 6032127
    Abstract: The present apparatus is a mobile shopping cart that can automatically keep track of objects selected and carried in the cart and provide a customer using the cart information like the total price of the items carried. The cart has a radio frequency cart base station with a cart antenna connected to a radio frequency cart transceiver. Various novel embodiments of the invention produce a radio frequency field within the shopping cart that is used to communicate with radio frequency tags on objects carried in the cart. The tags contain information about the respective carried object to which the tags are attached. A program function executed by the cart circuit and/or computer controls the cart transceiver to interrogate radio frequency tags within the radio frequency field, i.e. inside the cart to gain information about the carried objects. Tags on objects external to the cart are not interrogated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 29, 2000
    Assignee: Intermec IP Corp.
    Inventors: Mario Schkolnick, Robert Jacob von Gutfeld
  • Patent number: 6032133
    Abstract: A method for electronically paying a bill is described in which a bill pay order is forwarded to a first processor. The bill pay order includes information identifying a biller, an amount owed, and a consumer-biller account number. The method determines whether the consumer has sufficient funds to cover the amount owed, and compares the information identifying the biller to a local biller file to determine a biller financial institution identification number for a financial institution designated to receive funds for the biller. A payment message is then generated which includes information identifying the biller, the amount owed, the consumer-biller account number, and the biller financial institution identification number. The payment message is then forwarded to a network if the consumer has sufficient funds. The payment message is routed to the appropriate biller financial institution over the network using the biller financial institution identification number.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 29, 2000
    Assignee: VisaInternational Service Association
    Inventors: James J. Hilt, Ron Hodges, Stephen W. Pardue, William L. Powar
  • Patent number: 6029152
    Abstract: The invention relates to a procedure for processing data, especially transaction data, in an electronic payment system, whereby the electronic payment system includes a minimum of one payment terminal, a collections device and a transaction system. During the procedure, a data record is generated with header data (1), a payment transaction is executed by the minimum of one payment terminal (2), information concerning the payment transaction is stored in the data record (3), the data record is flagged as a shadow data record (6), and an additional data record with additional header data is generated (7), whereby the additional data record is generated before a further payment transaction (8) begins.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2000
    Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation
    Inventors: Hermann Bublitz, Adam R. Newth
  • Patent number: 5878403
    Abstract: A credit application and routing system includes a central processor having and executing a program. The system includes data input capabilities for selectively receiving credit application data from respective applicants at remote locations, and routing capabilities for selectively forwarding the credit application data to remote funding sources and selectively forwarding funding decision data from the funding sources to the respective applicants. The computer program includes routines for receiving a credit application from at least one remote application input and display device, for selectively forwarding a received credit application to at least one funding source, for receiving a funding decision from the at least one funding source, and for forwarding a received funding decision to the at least one remote application input and display device. The system can also obtain credit report data from credit bureaua, and analyze and summarize the credit report data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 2, 1999
    Assignee: CMSI
    Inventors: James R. DeFrancesco, Scott L. Freiman, Arvind K. Agrawal
  • Patent number: 5864822
    Abstract: A computer system and method for permitting a consumer to more effectively make use of a variety of available benefits from a plurality of goods and service providers, wherein the benefits are offered specifically to those consumers having an association with one or more enabling organizations. The system includes a memory for storing consumer information, enabling organization information and benefit correlation information. Input hardware is provided for inputting into the computer system certain identification information for a consumer and a set of consumer purchase plan data for the consumer. The system compares the identification information to the consumer information to determine those enabling organizations, if any, to which the consumer has an affiliation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1996
    Date of Patent: January 26, 1999
    Inventor: Bernard R. Baker, III
  • Patent number: 5842178
    Abstract: A computerized system for forming a computer based communications network of network members inclusive of network buyers and or network vendors for processing requests for quotation for goods and services through at least one central processing unit including operating system software for controling the central processing unit, storage means containing the identification of network members, means for network buyers to generate request for quotation for goods and/or services, means for transmitting said request for quotation to said central processing unit, filter means for selecting appropriate network members to receive said request for quotation based on filter conditions defined by the buyer in said request for quotation and/or by the vendor and/or by the central processing unit, means for broadcasting said request for quotation to the network members selected by said filter means and means for responding to the generator of said request for quotation with either a response to said request for quotation or
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1998
    Inventor: Joseph Giovannoli
  • Patent number: 5842176
    Abstract: A method and apparatus is disclosed for interacting with a computer reservation system. The invention allows multiple sessions to be established with a computer reservation system simultaneously. When a command is received that requires multiple requests to a computer reservation system, a determination is made whether those requests can be processed simultaneously. If so, two sessions are established with a computer reservation system and a first request is made using one session while a second request is made using the other session. Datasets received in response to the requests are returned to the source of the command.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1998
    Assignee: Electronic Data Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Douglas J. Hunt, George A. Smith
  • Patent number: 5839114
    Abstract: An automated system (10) is provided for selecting an initial computer reservation system. The system (10) includes a database (12) which stores data relating to each computer reservation system (30) utilized by a travel agency. The database (12) also contains one or more informational portfolios that can be used to determine the computer reservation system preferences of various parties, such as, for example, an individual traveler, a business entity employing the traveler, and the travel agency. In response to travel request information received from a customer, the system (10) automatically retrieves data/information from the database (12) and determines a target computer reservation system which most likely will be used to book travel arrangements. Consequently, the system (10) optimizes the hits-to-bookings ratio for each computer reservation system (30) utilized by the travel agency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 29, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 17, 1998
    Assignee: Electronic Data Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Michael F. Lynch, Jonathan A. Turner
  • Patent number: 5832447
    Abstract: Data from a health care provider computer system is used to automatically request real-time electronic insurance eligibility verification information from health care insurance payors. A patient health insurance verification computer system is operatively connected to a patient registration computer system. The verification computer system obtains a data output stream such as a print image from the registration computer system. This data output stream is captured and broken down into separate data fields. The insurance carrier is determined, and the verification computer system determines which electronic data source to request patient eligibility data from. The verification computer system reformats the captured data to fit the data format required by the data source, establishes a communications link to the data source, and sends the reformatted data to the data source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 3, 1998
    Assignee: Envoy Corporation
    Inventors: Edward C. Rieker, Daniel K. Mansfield
  • Patent number: 5826241
    Abstract: A payment system for enabling a first Internet user to make a payment to a second Internet user, typically for the purchase of an information product deliverable over the Internet. The payment system provides cardholder accounts for the first and second Internet users. When the second user sends the information product to the first user over the Internet, the second user also makes a request over the Internet to a front end portion of the payment system requesting payment from the first user. The front end portion of the payment system queries the first user over the Internet whether to proceed with payment to the second user. If the first user replies affirmatively, a charge to the first user is processed off the Internet; however if the first user replies negatively, the first user is not charged for the information product. The payment system informs the second user regarding whether the first user's decision and pays the second user upon collection of the charge from the first user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 1994
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1998
    Assignee: First Virtual Holdings Incorporated
    Inventors: Lee H. Stein, Einar A. Stefferud, Nathaniel S. Borenstein, Marshall T. Rose
  • Patent number: 5819237
    Abstract: A system, method, and product determines the incremental impact of any number of candidate trades on the value at risk (VaR) measure of a trading portfolio within a trading interval, without requiring that the VaR measure be redetermined individually with respect to each candidate trade. The method includes determining the VaR measure for the trading portfolio, and determining a derivative vector quantity for the VaR measure. For each candidate trade, the impact of the candidate trade on the VaR measure is determined as the vector product of the derivative vector and the mapped cashflows of the candidate trade. A negative sign indicates a desirable reduction in the VaR measure. This determination may be made for any number of candidate trades without having to re-determine the VaR measure. The software product employs this method in a financial analysis application in an optimized implementation. The system includes the software product along with databases storing the trading portfolio(s).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 6, 1998
    Assignee: Financial Engineering Associates, Inc.
    Inventor: Mark B. Garman
  • Patent number: 5815829
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method and system of data compression and indexing strategies for accounting software. Financial records are tracked to single job apart from its general ledger and incorporated into a single general ledger entry. The system provides flexibility for incorporating various user-defined numbering systems that may be used for recording financial transactions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 29, 1998
    Inventor: Dara Zargar
  • Patent number: 5809482
    Abstract: A system and method automatically tracks player gambling transactions in a casino. The system includes a casino database the stores betting summary records for each of a plurality players, where each betting summary record is associated with a player identification code, and includes the player's betting rating. One or more gaming tables have a plurality of player positions and a plurality of code readers. A code reader initiates a betting session in response to reading a player identification card encoded with a player identification code. A communications network couples the casino database and gaming table to an automatic tracking and management unit (ATMU). The ATMU has a display unit, and is coupled to the code readers at the gaming table to receive a player identification code for a player at the initiation of a betting session. The ATMU retrieves from the casino database the betting summary record of the player, and displays it to pit personnel at the gaming table on the display unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: Harrah's Operating Company, Inc.
    Inventor: John M. Strisower