Special Service Or Fee (e.g., Discount, Surcharge, Adjustment, Etc.) Patents (Class 705/402)
  • Patent number: 10290162
    Abstract: An information processing apparatus includes an acquisition unit that acquires a number of objects lining up in a queue when a target object targeted for measuring a queuing time enters the queue, a first detection unit that detects an object exiting the queue, and a measurement unit that measures, as a queuing time of the target object in the queue, a period from a time when the target object enters the queue to a time when a number of objects corresponding to the number acquired by the acquisition unit are detected by the first detection unit after the target object enters the queue.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2019
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Yoshitaka Nagao, Kanako Takeda
  • Patent number: 10223841
    Abstract: Systems and methods for processing distribution items having unique identifiers affixed thereon. The unique identifiers can include computer readable codes and written alphanumeric strings generated by a user. A system receives the unique identifier and requests payment information from a user, and stores an association between the unique identifier and the payment information, and processes the item according to the payment information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: United States Postal Service
    Inventors: Daniel Mark Bentley, Nii-Kwashie Aryeetey
  • Patent number: 10074064
    Abstract: Methods and systems for facilitating delivery of a package to a customer are described. The methods include receiving a delivery order, the order including a signature requirement; requesting a visual identification of an authorized receiver of the package from a user; receiving the visual identification from the user; and transmitting the visual identification to a shipping carrier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: PAYPAL, INC.
    Inventor: German Scipioni
  • Patent number: 8982386
    Abstract: A device includes a display unit, a display control unit configured to display a screen on the display unit according to display data, an execution unit configured to cause the device to perform a process corresponding to a script included in the display data, and a storing unit configured to store information indicating whether the script is charged for. The execution unit is configured to determine whether the script is charged for by referring to the information stored in the storing unit, and update charging information for the process performed by the device if the script is charged for.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2015
    Assignee: Ricoh Company, Ltd.
    Inventor: Ryoji Araki
  • Patent number: 8977385
    Abstract: Processing and tracking of individual mail items processed through a document processing system such as a sorter or inserter utilize a mail item identifier that is unique with respect to each individual mail item. A mail item may have a postal authority approved code representing or containing its associated unique identifier. If not, an identifier is generated and a corresponding postal authority approved code is applied to the mail item. Processing entails associating the unique mail item identifier for each respective mail item with collected metadata for the respective mail item and storing the identifier and associated the metadata. In a sorter example, each mail item is sorted into a postal sort group, and the processing entails identifying the sort group to which each item is sorted and storing the identified sort in association with the unique mail item identifier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2015
    Assignee: Bell and Howell, LLC
    Inventors: Brian Bowers, Steven Seburn, Steven Ksiazek, Gary Van Ermen, Walter S. Conard
  • Patent number: 8910860
    Abstract: A system and method is provided for transmitting information over a wide area network, such as the Internet, in response to receiving at least a portion of mail data. In one embodiment of the present invention, information is stored in a memory. Mail data is then affixed to a mail object. The mail object is then manually delivered to a recipient. The mail data is then provided to a reception device. The reception device then uses the mail data to retrieve the information from a mail device in communication with the memory. In a preferred embodiment, the mail data includes data corresponding to the recipient of the mail object, and the information includes data on a content of the mail object (e.g., data that is included inside an envelope portion of the mail object).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 16, 2014
    Inventor: Todd E Fitzsimmons
  • Publication number: 20140351173
    Abstract: A method for automating issuing and attachment of a label including post ID information when a user intends to apply a registered post providing tracking and tracing information such as a registration or a parcel service by using an unmanned device of itself and an apparatus for receiving a registered post including a post receiving unit receiving reception information for receiving the registered post including a registered or parcel service post, and a reception information managing unit authenticating a user who intends to apply the registered post and verifying the reception information of the registered post to generate label information for issuing the label including the reception information.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 11, 2013
    Publication date: November 27, 2014
    Applicant: ELECTRONICS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH INSTITUTE
    Inventor: Eun Hye KIM
  • Publication number: 20140258181
    Abstract: Embodiments described herein provide a shipper a discount for each postal item that is mailed by a delivery service provider. A facilitator offers the shipper an immediate discount that is based on the shipper meeting certain requirements, e.g. purchasing a certain amount of postage value, shipping a certain number of mail items, and/or shipping a certain type of mail item such as a qualified mail piece. The facilitator will receive a rebate from the delivery service provider based on the shipper ability to meet the established requirements.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 23, 2014
    Publication date: September 11, 2014
    Applicant: Stamps.com Inc.
    Inventor: Geoffrey C. Begen
  • Patent number: 8768851
    Abstract: Electronic messages may be processed using a stamp authority by receiving an electronic message, identifying a stamp associated the message, determining if the stamp is valid, and, if the stamp is determined to be valid, distinguishing the message from messages with which a valid stamp is not identified.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2014
    Assignee: Facebook, Inc.
    Inventor: Barry Appelman
  • Patent number: 8706290
    Abstract: A method for transporting a set of items includes predetermining a destination point for each item of the set and for each further item which passes through the sorting system, generating for each item a current image of the item from a predetermined viewing direction, determining the predetermined destination point of the item, and initiating a transport of the item to the destination point. The method includes further transmitting a computer-readable description of the set to a data processing system which is connected to the sorting system. The description includes a reference image of the item from the viewing direction. For each item which passes through the sorting system, the method includes automatically deciding by the data processing system whether or not the item belongs to the set, wherein the data processing system compares the generated current image of the item with the reference image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 22, 2014
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: Michael Zettler
  • Patent number: 8682801
    Abstract: In a method and an arrangement for provision of at least one secured service via a security module of a franking machine for at least one procedure for data processing that is executed in a data processing device that can be connected with the franking machine, the procedure requests a secured first service from the security module in a request step; and the security module provides the first service in a provision step subsequent to the request step. The security module verifies an authorization to request the first service via the procedure in a verification step preceding the provision step.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2006
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2014
    Assignee: Francotyp-Postalia GmbH
    Inventors: Gerrit Bleumer, Clemens Heinrich
  • Patent number: 8660883
    Abstract: A method of estimating the cost of a target print job may include identifying a target print job having a document type and one or more attributes, for each attribute of the target print job, determining a correlation between the attribute and a cost of the target print job using a plurality of historical print jobs associated with the document type, and identifying one or more of the attributes as cost drivers based on the correlation of the attribute to the cost of the target print job. The method may include identifying one or more relevant historical print jobs from the plurality of historical print jobs based on values for the identified cost drivers, estimating a cost of the target print job using the one or more relevant historical print jobs, and displaying the estimated cost associated with the target print job.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Assignee: Xerox Corporation
    Inventors: Shi Zhao, Sudhendu Rai, Wei Peng
  • Patent number: 8637783
    Abstract: Some embodiments include a machine-readable medium including instructions which when executed by a machine causes the machine to perform operations. The operations include sorting mail. The sorting of the mail includes reading an encoded value located on the mail piece. The sorting of the mail includes decoding the encoded value to determine a delivery point for the mail piece, an identification of a sender of the mail piece, an identification of a recipient of the mail piece, an identification of a class of the mail piece and an identification of a service type of the mail piece. The sorting of the mail includes determining whether the mail piece is a candidate undeliverable as addressed mail piece using the identification of the recipient of the mail piece within the encoded value and the identification of a delivery point for the mail piece within the encoded value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2012
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2014
    Assignee: Trinity Technical Group, Inc.
    Inventors: Shahrom Kiani, Ben F Bruce, Carlos Macia
  • Patent number: 8589309
    Abstract: A custom postage has an artwork region and an adjacent cancellation region that includes a meter mark. The artwork region contains an original image having a top edge adjacent to the cancellation region. The custom postage may be placed onto an item of mail with a delivery address thereon, with the custom postage oriented to the upper right of the delivery address and with the image in a vertical orientation relative to the delivery address. The custom postage may be offered for sale as a fundraising effort, optionally via a website. The website may also include a social citizenship program and/or it may promote literacy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 19, 2013
    Assignee: Castineiras Companies, LLC
    Inventor: George A. Castineiras
  • Patent number: 8533289
    Abstract: According to the invention, a content delivery network (CDN) for delivering content objects from a content provider to a recipient is disclosed. The CDN includes a dynamic pricing engine and a second web location. The dynamic pricing engine is coupled to a first web location. The first web location, which is associated with a content provider, allows the recipient to order a content object. The delivery quote is solicited by the first web location for delivering a content object one or more times. The second web location delivers the content object to a recipient system of the recipient. The second web location is associated with the dynamic pricing engine. The dynamic pricing engine automatically produces the delivery quote, which is affected by at least one of the content object or a web location of the recipient system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2013
    Assignee: Limelight Networks, Inc.
    Inventors: Nathan F. Raciborski, Michael M. Gordon
  • Patent number: 8515877
    Abstract: The present teachings described herein pertain to mail preparation systems, and more specifically to the processing of mailings to obtain destination entry discounts. The teachings herein also pertain to the processing of mailings by various document processing systems, such as sorters, inserters or vision systems attached to document processing systems, to enable processing of mail articles to maximize destination entry discounts. Still further, the teachings pertain to schemes for the enablement of delivery and logistics information to be arranged respective to a mailing during mail processing to obtain destination entry discounts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2009
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2013
    Assignee: Bell + Howell Company
    Inventors: Erik Runstrom, Walter S. Conard
  • Patent number: 8503977
    Abstract: An information distribution apparatus creates data to be simultaneously distributed, further adding to the data an identifier which indicates that the data is distributed by a broadcast service, and adding billing class information in accordance with the data amount, and transmits it; a mobile terminal receives the data, creates a reception confirmation message if it is determined from the identifier added to the received data that the received data is distributed by a broadcast service, and further adds the identifier and the billing class information added to the data to the reception confirmation message to transmit it to a billing-information generation apparatus and the information distribution apparatus; and the billing-information generation apparatus generates billing information based on the billing class information added to the reception confirmation message if it is determined from the identifier added to the reception confirmation message that the data is distributed by a broadcast service.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 2009
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2013
    Assignee: NEC Corporation
    Inventor: Yukako Nakayama
  • Patent number: 8463716
    Abstract: A method and system for using a tracking ID to facilitate the refunding of unused postage is provided. Information for a postage transaction, along with the tracking ID and an associated delivery status, is stored. This delivery status is updated when the mail piece carrying the tracking ID is delivered. Unused postage can be confirmed by retrieving the stored postage transaction information and determining from that whether there are duplicative postage transactions. The delivery statuses for the duplicative postage transactions can then be reviewed to determine whether the mail pieces associated with these postage transactions have been delivered. If not, one of the postage transactions may be refunded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2013
    Assignee: PSI Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Scott Montgomery, Harry T. Whitehouse
  • Patent number: 8452715
    Abstract: A method of providing for a money transfer over a network includes the steps of: providing a stamp having a face value and a lifespan both indicated on the stamp, the stamp being a string that is a concatenation of two or more fields including the face value and the lifespan, with at least one of the fields calculated according to a prescription involving a hashing or encryption of a concatenation of others of the fields or of some other field not part of the stamp; affixing the stamp to an e-mail; and allowing the recipient of the e-mail to obtain value for the stamp if the stamp is presented to a predetermined entity (such as a stamp issuer) for the stamp value within the lifespan indicated on the stamp. The stamp may comprise a concatenation of a set of fields, including a lifespan, a stamp value; and hash/encryption.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2013
    Assignee: Kount Inc.
    Inventor: Timothy P. Barber
  • Patent number: 8438115
    Abstract: In a system including a postage printing device and a data center, wherein the postage printing device and the data center have a first set of keys for use in requesting and downloading a plurality of postage data records from the data center for use in printing postal indicia, a method of securely transferring the postage printing device and any postage value stored therein from a first user to a second user. According to the method, a new set of keys for requesting and downloading postage data records is generated, any current postage value stored in the printer device is securely transferred to the second user using the new keys and some of the first set of keys, and the first set of keys is zeroed, thereby protecting the first user from any potential theft or fraud of postage funds on the part of the second user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2013
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: Steven J. Pauly, Michael J. Shukaitis
  • Patent number: 8429083
    Abstract: Electronic messages may be processed using a stamp authority by receiving an electronic message, identifying a stamp associated the message, determining if the stamp is valid, and, if the stamp is determined to be valid, distinguishing the message from messages with which a valid stamp is not identified.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2013
    Assignee: Facebook, Inc.
    Inventor: Barry Appelman
  • Patent number: 8407156
    Abstract: A closed loop postage metering system includes networked meters that provide mailers and/or recipients the capability to request additional or modified services during processing of a mail piece by a carrier. The networked meter allows the Post to charge the mailer, or even the recipient for these services or to provide them with a refund or credit. The services can include changing the processing of the mail piece. Further, the closed loop postage metering system enables more precise methods of paying for services when multiple carriers handle a mail piece. A special case of such multiple carriers handling is the handling of international mail.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2013
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: Robert A. Cordery, Murray D. Martin, Leon A. Pintsov, Frederick W. Ryan, Jr.
  • Patent number: 8301524
    Abstract: An accounting apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention includes an accounting unit, an occupancy time counting unit and a charge discounting unit. The accounting unit is configured to impose a charge for use of a device that is an object of accounting on the basis of the number of operations and/or an operation time of the device. The occupancy time counting unit is configured to count an occupancy time that the device has been exclusively used by a user. The charge discounting unit is configured to discount the charge for use of the device on the basis of the occupancy time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2012
    Assignee: KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc.
    Inventor: Takuya Fukata
  • Patent number: 8289541
    Abstract: Methods of processing incoming documents. The methods may comprise receiving a plurality of documents in electronic form and classifying each of the plurality of documents into at least one of a plurality of document classifications. The methods may also comprise extracting metadata from the plurality of documents. In addition, the methods may comprise executing a first workflow for processing documents classified in a first document classification selected from the plurality of document classifications and executing a second workflow for processing documents classified in a second document classification selected from the plurality of document classifications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2007
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2012
    Assignee: Morgan Stanley
    Inventors: Ken Garg, Fred Pulzello, Mark Chambers, Debra Logan-Rabb
  • Patent number: 8239322
    Abstract: A method of paying for postage stamps, that involves the generation of a plurality of postage stamps, wherein each of the stamps has a unique identification code; and the debiting of an account for the generation of the plurality of stamps when a carrier processes one of the plurality of stamps.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2012
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: Darryl T. Rathbun, Frederick W. Ryan, Jr.
  • Patent number: 8230036
    Abstract: The server of a communication system determines a communication growth level that is the level of growth of communication between one user and another user based on the cumulative count of mail send/receive events, and stores the determined growth level in the communication growth level Data Base. When the server receives a profile view request to view the profile of user A from the terminal of user B, the server determines the range of profile information to be opened for user B out of the profile of user A, based on the communication growth level of the pair of user A and user B stored in the communication growth level Data Base.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2012
    Assignee: NEC Corporation
    Inventors: Hidemi Ishikawa, Chikara Takauji, Masakazu Inoue, Tomoko Ikawa
  • Patent number: 8218170
    Abstract: Multiple print streams destined for individual print stream processing modules are optimized prior to printing. The process of optimizing includes receiving an input representing a plurality of documents to be printed and determining an attribute of each document of the plurality of documents represented by the input. The attribute relates to processing of the respective document through the document processing system. Optimization involves balancing an operation time of a first print stream processing module with an operation time of a second print stream processing module, by assigning each document to one of the print stream processing modules based on its determined attribute.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2012
    Assignee: Bell and Howell, LLC
    Inventors: Karl F. Klopsch, Uwe Meister
  • Patent number: 8214450
    Abstract: According to the invention, a content delivery network (CDN) for delivering content objects from a content provider to a recipient is disclosed. The CDN includes a dynamic pricing engine and a second web location. The dynamic pricing engine is coupled to a first web location. The first web location, which is associated with a content provider, allows the recipient to order a content object. The delivery quote is solicited by the first web location for delivering a content object one or more times. The second web location delivers the content object to a recipient system of the recipient. The second web location is associated with the dynamic pricing engine. The dynamic pricing engine automatically produces the delivery quote, which is affected by at least one of the content object or a web location of the recipient system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2012
    Assignee: Limelight Networks, Inc.
    Inventors: Nathan F. Raciborski, Michael M. Gordon
  • Patent number: 8131652
    Abstract: This invention provides methods, apparatus, and systems for classifying addresses. An address is evaluated based upon a postal code or standardized postal code, such as a U.S. Postal Service ZIP+4 code, serving the address. If the address cannot be classified based on the standardized postal code, the address is classified based on additional information, such as a U.S. Postal Service delivery point code. A mailer may then determine whether the address is a business or residential (or non-business) address. Furthermore, a mailer may predict when surcharges may apply and compare the rates of various carriers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 5, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2012
    Assignee: United States Postal Service
    Inventors: John F. Gullo, James D. Wilson, Robert F. Snapp, David J. Payne
  • Patent number: 8126822
    Abstract: A method that enables the post to deliver letters, flats, post cards and packages (mail) addressed to a recipient's virtual post office box and then to be delivered directly to the recipient. The process enables individuals or entities to rent a virtual post office (VPO) box i.e., a box that does not physically exist, from the post office (“post”). Mail addressed to the virtual post office box would be captured by the post during the post's sortation process and rerouted to the specified address of the renter of the virtual post office box.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 28, 2012
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: Ronald P. Sansone, Fran E. Blackman, Daniel F. Dlugos, Leon A. Pintsov, Denis J. Stemmle, Francis X. Hines, Jr.
  • Patent number: 8108272
    Abstract: A financial institution computer maintains one or more lists of account identifiers for accounts enrolled in a prioritized payment program including pre-authorization of certain payment requests by select creditors. The computer estimates a value of one or more prioritized payments associated with a first account and authorizes a first sweep payment to a second account at a second financial institution from a third stand-in account at a payroll processor, so that the estimated value is held back in the stand-in account. Then the computer receives an automatic deposit associated with an account identifier for a first account. The financial institution computer generates prioritized payments from the first account to select creditors and generates a second sweep payment, if necessary, from the first account to the second account, responsive to the incoming automatic deposit. The second account can be, for example, a demand deposit account or a prepaid card account.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2012
    Assignee: Metabank
    Inventors: Trent Sorbe, Troy Larson
  • Patent number: 8099256
    Abstract: A method of determining the dimensions of a mailpiece by means of a portable measuring device having a housing provided with an opening having a side reference surface along which the mailpiece is guided under a position sensor in a first pass along a first dimension of the mailpiece, after which pass a value for the first dimension of the mailpiece is determined by a processing unit and is communicated to a franking system to which the portable measuring device is connected, and in a second pass along a second dimension of the mailpiece, after which pass a value for the second dimension of the mailpiece is determined by the processing unit and is communicated to the franking system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2012
    Assignee: Neopost Technologies
    Inventor: Marek Krasuski
  • Patent number: 8086346
    Abstract: In some example, a computerized method includes sorting mail that comprises a multiple pass mail sort operation. The multiple pass mail sort operation for a mail piece that is undeliverable as addressed comprises performing a first pass of the multiple pass mail sort operation, wherein performing the first pass comprises capturing data to identify a feature of the mail piece. The multiple pass mail sort operation comprises generating a fingerprint for the mail piece between performing the first pass and performing a second pass of the multiple pass mail sort operation. The fingerprint is derived from the feature of the mail piece that is identified during the first pass.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 27, 2011
    Assignee: Trinity Technical Group, Inc.
    Inventors: Shahrom Kiani, Carlos Macia, Ben F. Bruce
  • Patent number: 8073787
    Abstract: A system and method is provided for transmitting mail verification data over a wide area network, such as the Internet, in response to receiving and authenticating at least a portion of mail identification (ID) data. In one embodiment of the present invention, a mail verification application is adapted to store at least a verifying portion (e.g., an identifiable code portion, a shipping portion, a recipient portion, etc.) of mail ID data in memory. The mail ID data is then affixed to a mail object. The mail object is then manually delivered to a recipient. At least an authenticating portion of the mail ID data is then provided to a reception device. The reception device, which communicates with the mail ID device over a wide area network, transmits at least the authenticating portion of the mail ID data to the mail verification application operating on the mail ID device. The mail verification application then compares the authenticating portion of the mail ID data with the verifying portion stored in memory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 6, 2011
    Inventor: Todd E. Fitzsimmons
  • Patent number: 8065239
    Abstract: The exemplary embodiment of the present invention will provide methods and a computer system for managing image content review for image customization of computer-based value-bearing items such as, for example, an exemplary image-customized computer-based postage label 1 in an exemplary embodiment of the present invention as depicted in FIG. 1. With reference to FIG. 1, the exemplary customized computer-based postage label 1 will bear an image 2 that would be provided by a corresponding user, namely by the user that orders the customized computer-based postage label. The user may provide image 2 in an electronic form, such as by uploading a digital representation of image 2. In a variation of the exemplary embodiment, a user could alternatively provide a hardcopy image. The exemplary customized computer-based postage label 1 will bear a human-readable indication of the country 4 for which the postage is approved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 22, 2011
    Assignee: Stamps.com Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth Thomas McBride, John Michael Boswell, Kyle Huebner, John Roland Clem, J. P. Leon, Daniel David Farino, Richard Stables
  • Patent number: 8060445
    Abstract: In a mail franking system including a central secure metering device (PSD 20) connected to a remote credit reloading server (26) and a plurality of local franking management modules (22-1 to 22-N) each including a local secure metering device (28-1 to 28-N) and connected to said central secure metering device via a user's local area network (LAN), there is provided a method wherein a franking session is opened, each of the local franking management modules books a predetermined franking value from a central secure metering device so as to perform secure frankings up to the limit of this value and at the end of session each of these modules transmits its consumed franking value to the central device which is then debited by an overall franking value equal to the sum of the franking values consumed by each of the local modules.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2011
    Assignee: Neopost Technologies
    Inventors: Fabien Chatte, Marek Krasuski
  • Patent number: 8041797
    Abstract: A method, apparatus, and computer instructions for allocating resources based on predictions of service level agreement (SLA) breaches in order to minimize costs are provided. With the method, apparatus, and computer instructions, a prediction that an SLA will be breached is received from a prediction engine associated with the SLM system. Based on a prediction that an SLA will be breached, a minimum cost analysis is performed to determine if computer resources may be shifted from another service consumer under another SLA to facilitate the service consumer of the potentially breached SLA in order to reduce the cost of the penalty associated with breaching SLAs. If so, resources are reallocated in order to minimize penalties associated with SLA breaches.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 18, 2011
    Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation
    Inventors: Rhonda L. Childress, David Bruce Kumhyr, Edgar Allen Marin, Neil Raymond Pennell
  • Patent number: 8036994
    Abstract: Provided is a method of reducing postal revenue losses associated with the processing and delivery of international mail pieces. Algorithmically-resolved image data associated with a mail piece is compared to international-mail-services postage data and a determination is rendered, based on the comparison, as to whether any postage indicated as paid is sufficient to further process the mail piece in accordance with the level of delivery service requested. In various aspects, an attempt to algorithmically ascertain the identity of the sender is undertaken for purposes of automated charge assessment relative to a mail piece for which it is determined that insufficient postage has been tendered. In accordance with alternative aspects, if the sender identity cannot be ascertained, the mail piece is variously (i) rejected for manual handling or (ii) routed for automated sortation and delivery in accordance with a “downgraded” delivery service level for which the amount paid is adequate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2011
    Assignee: Lockhead Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Russell Elliot, Audrey Ferry, Jeffrey S. Poulin, Linda H. Rockwood
  • Patent number: 8005762
    Abstract: The exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides a method for handling printing errors in a computer-based postage system, the method comprising: assigning an identifier to a particular mail piece wherein said identifier uniquely identifies the particular mail piece during a particular period of time and wherein said unique mail piece identifier is related to a particular mailer; generating for printing a representation of a postage indicium for the particular mail piece and a representation of the unique mail piece identifier; and recognizing an indication that an error occurred in a printing of at least one of the postage indicium or the representation of the unique mail piece identifier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2011
    Assignee: Stamps.com Inc.
    Inventors: Craig L. Ogg, Akbar A. Thobhani
  • Patent number: 7996287
    Abstract: Methods, services, program products and devices are provided for correlating carbon offsetting and printing. Methods comprise a requester initiating a print job on a printing device; analyzing the print job; identifying at least one print job metric relevant to the print job as a function of the analyzing, the metric associated with a carbon offset value; calculating a total amount of carbon offset from the identified at least one metric; printing the print job; and transferring the carbon offset total amount to a carbon offsetting entity for debiting or crediting against a printing entity as a function of the printing. Systems and devices and articles of manufacture comprising a computer usable medium having a computer readable program in said medium are provided. Service methods comprise deploying applications for correlating carbon offsetting and printing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 9, 2011
    Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation
    Inventors: Rick A. Hamilton, II, Brian M. O'Connell, Clifford A. Pickover, Keith R. Walker
  • Patent number: 7996333
    Abstract: There is provided a method and system of determining efficient routing of a mail piece in a delivery system for delivering mail pieces. The system determines whether or not the mail piece requires urgent delivery. The system determines a weight of the mail piece. Also, the system determines, based on the urgency determination and the weight determination, a most cost-effective place in which to introduce the mail piece into the delivery system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 9, 2011
    Assignee: United States Postal Service
    Inventor: Peter Furka
  • Publication number: 20110161249
    Abstract: The systems and methods described herein relate generally to the integration of a shipping label with a customs form to provide a single label having postage, addressing, customs and other information for international shipping. In one embodiment, a method for generating an international shipping a package comprises the steps of providing shipping information associated with the package, the information comprising address information of the origin, address information of the destination, postage information including a postage amount due to a post service and a customs form number unique within the post service; processing a shipping label having the shipping information displayed thereon; and affixing the shipping label to the package.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 19, 2010
    Publication date: June 30, 2011
    Applicant: PSI Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Harry T. Whitehouse
  • Patent number: 7962648
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for identifying and prioritizing applications and application servers in a Voice over IP network is disclosed. In a first embodiment, elements of signaling information are extracted from a call and are mapped to parameters associated with the call. These mapped parameters are then used by a service broker in a VoIP network to identify one or more application servers adapted to process the values of the respective parameter. The service broker may illustratively identify the application servers by a pointer to permit flexible reassignment of processing of a given parameter. The matched pointer/parameter combinations are then mapped to a precedence index. Then, according to this precedence index, the aforementioned pointers are mapped to specific addresses of application servers and the elements of signaling information are forwarded to those addresses for processing of applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: AT&T Intellectual Property II, L.P.
    Inventors: Neela R. Alturi, Frederick Murray Burg, Saul Daniel Fishman, James A. Ibezim, Barbara Joanne Kittredge, Lauraine M. Schalk-Pizza
  • Patent number: 7962421
    Abstract: This invention provides methods, apparatus, and systems for classifying addresses. An address is evaluated based upon a postal code or standardized postal code, such as a U.S. Postal Service ZIP+4 code, serving the address. If the address cannot be classified based on the standardized postal code, the address is classified based on additional information, such as a U.S. Postal Service delivery point code. A mailer may then determine whether the address is a business or residential (or non-business) address. Furthermore, a mailer may predict when surcharges may apply and compare the rates of various carriers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: United States Postal Service
    Inventors: John F. Gullo, James D. Wilson, Robert F. Snapp, David J. Payne
  • Patent number: 7937333
    Abstract: A system and method for processing refund requests in a postage system is described. In one configuration, each mail piece includes a tracking code. The refund system monitors the tracking codes as mail pieces are processed in the mail stream. A user enters a refund request for a particular mail piece that is identified by a unique tracking code. The refund system then interrogates a tracking code database to determine if the mail piece was observed in the mail stream. The system then continues to periodically interrogate the tracking code database over a test period of a week to determine if the mail piece was observed in the mail stream. If the mail piece is not observed within the test period, a refund is processed. The system continues to interrogate the tracking code database for a year after the refund is processed to ensure that fraud is not committed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2011
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: Frederick W. Ryan, Jr., Bradley R. Hammell, Anuja S. Ketan
  • Patent number: 7933844
    Abstract: A method for sorting parcels may include reading, during a first sortation pass, machine readable indicia applied to the parcel prior to mailing and at least a portion of delivery address information on a parcel. The method may also include selecting a reference indicium from the machine readable indicia and creating an entry, corresponding to the reference indicia, in a first database, the entry including a portion of the delivery address information for the parcel and a value corresponding to the reference indicium. The method may also include determining whether the delivery address information has a corresponding forwarding order, and, if a corresponding forwarding order exists, modifying the delivery address information in accordance with the forwarding order. The method may include forwarding the entry to a second database different from the first database, the second database corresponding to the delivery address information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2011
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: Alfred T. Rundle
  • Publication number: 20110066572
    Abstract: Disclosed is a system and method of dynamically sorting items for delivery to diverse destinations in which at least one target location changes during the sorting process using an electronic array that correlates diverse destinations to target locations for sorting, wherein the electronic array changes based upon criteria relating to the results of the sort resulting in the removal of a first set of items from one target location while leaving a second set in the target location and placing the first set in another target location to adapt to the changed array and thereafter continuing to sort further items according to the changed array while some items remain in their initial target locations.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 18, 2010
    Publication date: March 17, 2011
    Inventor: Ronald Robbins
  • Publication number: 20110066549
    Abstract: The systems and methods described herein relate generally to the integration of a shipping label with a customs form to provide a single label having postage, addressing, customs, and other information for international shipping, and in particular, to managing landed cost and harmonization for international packages. In one embodiment, managing the landed cost and harmonization may comprise generating a unique self-validating postage indicium or mark in response to a request that includes a description of contents for a package onto which an international shipping label is to be placed and a destination country where the package is to be delivered. As such, the unique self-validating postage indicium or mark may indicate that landed costs for delivering the package to the destination country have been pre-paid, wherein the unique self-validating postage indicium or mark and a customs declaration form may be printed on the international shipping label.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 16, 2010
    Publication date: March 17, 2011
    Applicant: PSI SYSTEMS, INC.
    Inventor: Harry T. WHITEHOUSE
  • Patent number: 7890208
    Abstract: A mailing list is created including destination addresses for mailpieces to be submitted to a carrier service for delivery. A unique mailpiece identifier associated with mailpieces on the mailing list is generated by the carrier or other trusted third party. The unique mailpiece identifier is printed on the mailpiece with which it is associated. The mailpieces with the printed unique identifier are submitted to the carrier service. The carrier service obtains the printed unique identifier from the mailpiece. The obtained unique identifier from each said mailpiece is utilized to verify that data associated with the mailpiece has been processed by the carrier or trusted third party. When the unique number has been obtained from the mailpieces, the carrier service, if desired, may note this fact in the carrier records to prevent reuse of the unique identifier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2011
    Inventors: Leon A. Pintsov, Robert A. Cordery
  • Patent number: 7840499
    Abstract: A computer-based system and method enables an item to be mailed by providing a web site offering access to a mail delivery program, receiving a request for delivering the item with Extra service status, printing an identification number and a postage mark using the program based on address, postage, and other information entered by a customer, and sending an electronic data transmission to a postal service server informing the postal service that the identification number corresponds to the Extra service request. When the postal service receives the item, it accesses its computer records to locate the identification number. Delivery is then performed based on one or more Extra services requested and a corresponding electronic return receipt is made accessible to the mailing party, either by e-mail or on a web site. The postage mark and identification number may be printed on a label affixed to the item or may be printed directly on the item along with other information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2010
    Inventor: Charles Westray Crutchfield