WO2017205731A1 - Expert system and methods for commercial transactions and automated negotiation - Google Patents

Expert system and methods for commercial transactions and automated negotiation

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Publication number
WO2017205731A1
WO2017205731A1 PCT/US2017/034661 US2017034661W WO2017205731A1 WO 2017205731 A1 WO2017205731 A1 WO 2017205731A1 US 2017034661 W US2017034661 W US 2017034661W WO 2017205731 A1 WO2017205731 A1 WO 2017205731A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
commodity
system
network
computer
user
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2017/034661
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Charles BROFMAN
Michael J. TURILLO, Jr.
Original Assignee
Cybersettle Holdings, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • G06Q30/08Auctions, matching or brokerage
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0207Discounts or incentives, e.g. coupons, rebates, offers or upsales

Abstract

An expert system for managing automated negotiations over a network, comprising a network computer, including: a transceiver for communicating over the network; a memory for storing at least instructions; and a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including user to purchase an option to purchase a commodity. Also described is an expert system enabling commodity providers to bid for opportunity to offer linked commodities to consumer users purchasing an initial commodity.

Description

EXPERT SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS AND AUTOMATED NEGOTIATION

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/342,018, entitled EXPERT SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS AND AUTOMATED NEGOTIATION, filed on May 26, 2016, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference hereby.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Disclosed are systems and methods directed generally to transactional technology.

SUMMARY

The following briefly describes embodiments of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This brief description is not intended as an extensive overview. It is not intended to identify key or critical elements, or to delineate or otherwise narrow the scope. Its purpose is merely to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

Briefly stated, various embodiments are directed to an expert system and method for commercial transactions and automated negotiations over a network.

In at least one of the various embodiments, the system and methods comprise: a network computer, including: a transceiver for communicating over the network; a memory for storing at least instructions; a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including: allowing a user to purchase an option to purchase a commodity, wherein the option locks out other bidders for that commodity an option period; and if the user purchases the option, reserving the commodity for the option period until such time as the user exercises the option or the option period expires. In various embodiments, the system and method can comprise accepting conditional offers for the optioned commodity from other users during the option period; and transacting with one or more buyers who made conditional offers during the option period once the option period expires.

In at least one of the various embodiments, the system and methods comprise: a network computer, including: a transceiver for communicating over the network; a memory for storing at least instructions; a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including: broadcasting an opportunity to commodity providers to participate in a linked-commodity negotiation with a buyer engaged in a transaction for an initial commodity; accepting bids from the commodity providers; testing the bids for the same commodities against a determination algorithm to select a winner to negotiate with the buyer for that commodity. In various embodiments the system and method can include the linked commodity being linked to an initial commodity in by at least one of price, location, time, and uniqueness of the commodity. In various embodiments the system and method can include the winner and the buyer being presented with the opportunity to engage in a multi-round bidding transaction for the linked commodity. In various embodiments the system and method can include data for the transaction being sent to a database for event analysis. In various embodiments the system and method can include the expert system providing facilitation guidance to the linked commodity provider indicating the likelihood of success of an autobid parameter. In various embodiments the system and method can include the buyer having a user profile including preference information for commodities, the preference information being employed by the determination algorithm to determine a winner. In various embodiments the system and method can include a commodity provider profile including commodity provider information, the commodity provider information being employed by the determination algorithm to determine a winner.

In at least one of the various embodiments, the system and methods comprise: a network computer, including: a transceiver for communicating over the network; a memory for storing at least instructions; a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including: broadcasting an opportunity to linked commodity providers to participate in a linked-commodity negotiation with a buyer engaged in a transaction for an initial commodity accepting autobids from the linked commodity providers testing the autobids for the same commodities against a determination algorithm to select a winner to negotiate with the buyer for that linked-commodity presenting the buyer with an opportunity to enter into a transaction with the winning commodity provider for the commodity. In various embodiments the system and method autobid is a percent or price differential of the listed price for the commodity. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Non-limiting and non-exhaustive embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to the following drawings. In the drawings, like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the various figures unless otherwise specified.

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference will be made to the following Detailed Description, which is to be read in association with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a system diagram of an environment in which at least one of the various embodiments may be implemented;

FIGURE 2 shows an embodiment of a client computer that may be included in a system such as that shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 shows an embodiment of a network computer that may be included in a system such as that shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 illustrates a logical architecture of a system in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments;

FIGURE 5 represents a logical architecture for a system in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments;

FIGURE 6 illustrates an overview flowchart for a process for transactions in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments;

FIGURE 7 illustrates a flowchart for a process for transactions in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Various embodiments now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and which show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments by which the invention may be practiced. The embodiments 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 embodiments to those skilled in the art. Among other things, the various embodiments may be methods, systems, media, or devices. Accordingly, the various embodiments may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment, or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense.

Throughout the specification and claims, the following terms take the meanings explicitly associated herein, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

The term "herein" refers to the specification, claims, and drawings associated with the current application. The phrase "in one embodiment" as used herein does not necessarily refer to the same embodiment, though it may. Furthermore, the phrase "in another embodiment" as used herein does not necessarily refer to a different embodiment, although it may. Thus, as described below, various embodiments of the invention may be readily combined, without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.

In addition, as used herein, the term "or" is an inclusive "or" operator, and is equivalent to the term "and/ or," unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. The term "based on" is not exclusive and allows for being based on additional factors not described, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. In addition, throughout the specification, the meaning of "a," "an," and "the" include plural references. The meaning of "in" includes "in" and "on."

As used herein, the term "widget controller" refers to a computer program that may be operative on a client application. Widget controllers may be downloaded and/or otherwise deployed to a client application. Widget controllers may be arranged to be operative for downloading content, monitoring consumer actions, or otherwise managing widgets located within client applications.

As used herein, the term "widget" refers to a user-interface element located in the client application. Widgets may be invisible or visible to users of the client applications. In some cases, a widget controller may generate widget "on-the-fly" before deploying content into the widget. Widgets may be adapted to reflect the operating environment of the client application that they are being hosted within. For example, in clients that support HTML, CSS a widget may be an HTML element such as a DIV, P, or the like. For client application operative in a Java environment, a widget may be a View object or Window object, and so on. As used herein, the term "Host" may refer to an individual person, partnership, organization, or corporate entity that may own or operate one or more e- commerce platforms (e.g., web sites, mobile applications, or the like). Hosts may arrange digital media properties to use hyper-local targeting by arranging the property to integrate with widget controllers, commerce servers, or expert negotiation servers.

As used herein, an "offer" is the amount of money (or equivalent value) proffered by a user having a transaction opposite another user, such as buyer or his or her agent seeking to purchase a commodity from a commodity provider, for which the user with the transaction would be willing to reach agreement. A "counter-offer" is the amount of money (or suitable value) the opposite person, for example a seller of a commodity such as a commodity provider, will reach agreement the transaction. "Counter-offer" and "offer" are used distinguish the amounts submitted by the opposite parties; it does not matter which party makes the offer or counter-offer nor is it required that an either the offer or the counter-offer precede one another. As used herein, a "bid" is an offer to pay an amount of money (or equivalence value) for something being sold or offered.

Illustrative Operating Environment

FIGURE 1 shows components of one embodiment of an environment in which embodiments of the innovations described herein may be practiced. Not all of the components may be required to practice the innovations, and variations in the arrangement and type of the components may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the innovations. As shown, system 100 of FIGURE 1 includes local area networks (LANs)/ wide area networks (WANs)— (network) 110, wireless network 108, client computers 102-105, Commodity Provider Server Computers (CPSC) 112a, 112b, 112», and Expert Negotiation Server Computer (ENSC) 114.

At least one embodiment of client computers 102-105 is described in more detail below in conjunction with FIGURE 2. In one embodiment, at least some of client computers 102-105 may operate over a wired and/ or wireless network, such as networks 110 and/ or 108. Generally, client computers 102-105 may include virtually any computer capable of communicating over a network to send and receive information, perform various online activities, offline actions, or the like. In one embodiment, one or more of client computers 102-105 may be configured to operate within a business or other entity to perform a variety of services for the business or other entity. For example, client computers 102-105 may be configured to operate as a web server, an accounting server, a production server, an inventory server, or the like. However, client computers 102-105 are not constrained to these services and may also be employed, for example, as an end-user computing node, in other embodiments. It should be recognized that more or less client computers may be included within a system such as described herein, and embodiments are therefore not constrained by the number or type of client computers employed.

Computers that may operate as client computer 102 may include computers that typically connect using a wired or wireless communications medium such as personal computers, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable electronic devices, network PCs, or the like. In some embodiments, client computers 102-105 may include virtually any portable personal computer capable of connecting to another computing device and receiving information such as, laptop computer 103, smart mobile telephone 104, and tablet computers 105, and the like. However, portable computers are not so limited and may also include other portable devices such as cellular telephones, display pagers, radio frequency (RF) devices, infrared (IR) devices, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), handheld computers, wearable computers, integrated devices combining one or more of the preceding devices, and the like. As such, client computers 102-105 typically range widely in terms of capabilities and features. Moreover, client computers 102-105 may access various computing applications, including a browser, or other web-based application.

A web-enabled client computer may include a browser application that is configured to receive and to send web pages, web-based messages, and the like. The browser application may be configured to receive and display graphics, text, multimedia, and the like, employing virtually any web-based language, including a wireless application protocol messages (WAP), and the like. In one embodiment, the browser application is enabled to employ Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML), Wireless Markup Language (WML), WMLScript, JavaScript, Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), HyperText Markup Language (HTML), extensible Markup Language (XML), and the like, to display and send a message. In one embodiment, a user of the client computer may employ the browser application to perform various activities over a network (online). However, another application may also be used to perform various online activities.

Client computers 102-105 may also include at least one other client application that is configured to receive and/or send content between another computer. The client application may include a capability to send and/ or receive content, or the like. The client application may further provide information that identifies itself, including a type, capability, name, and the like. In one embodiment, client computers 102-105 may uniquely identify themselves through any of a variety of mechanisms, including an Internet Protocol (IP) address, a phone number, Mobile Identification Number (MIN), an electronic serial number (ESN), or other device identifier. Such information may be provided in a network packet, or the like, sent between other client computers, Commodity Provider Server Computers 112a, 112b, 112», Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or other computers.

Client computers 102-105 may further be configured to include a client application that enables an end-user to log into an end-user account that may be managed by another computer, such Commodity Provider Server Computers 112a, 112b, 112», Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. Such end-user account, in one non-limiting example, may be configured to enable the end-user to manage one or more online activities, including in one non-limiting example, search activities, social networking activities, browse various websites, communicate with other users, or the like. However, participation in such online activities may also be performed without logging into the end-user account.

Wireless network 108 is configured to couple client computers 103-105 and its components with network 110. Wireless network 108 may include any of a variety of wireless sub-networks that may further overlay stand-alone ad-hoc networks, and the like, to provide an infrastructure-oriented connection for client computers 103-105. Such sub-networks may include mesh networks, Wireless LAN (WLAN) networks, cellular networks, and the like. In one embodiment, the system may include more than one wireless network.

Wireless network 108 may further include an autonomous system of terminals, gateways, routers, and the like connected by wireless radio links, and the like. These connectors may be configured to move freely and randomly and organize themselves arbitrarily, such that the topology of wireless network 108 may change rapidly.

Wireless network 108 may further employ a plurality of access technologies including 2nd (2G), 3rd (3G), 4th (4G) 5th (5G) generation radio access for cellular systems, WLAN, Wireless Router (WR) mesh, and the like. Access technologies such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and future access networks may enable wide area coverage for mobile devices, such as client computers 103-105 with various degrees of mobility. In one non-limiting example, wireless network 108 may enable a radio connection through a radio network access such as Global System for Mobil communication (GSM), General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE), code division multiple access (CDMA), time division multiple access (TDM A), Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), High Speed

Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), Long Term Evolution (LTE), and the like. In essence, wireless network 108 may include virtually any wireless communication mechanism by which information may travel between client computers 103-105 and another computer, network, and the like.

Network 110 is configured to couple network computers with other computers and/or computing devices, including, Commodity Provider Server Computers 112a, 112b, 112» for a plurality of commodity providers, Expert

Negotiation Server Computer 114, client computer 102, and client computers 103-105 through wireless network 108. Network 110 is enabled to employ any form of computer readable media for communicating information from one electronic device to another. Also, network 110 can include the Internet in addition to local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), direct connections, such as through a universal serial bus (USB) port, other forms of computer-readable media, or any combination thereof. On an interconnected set of LANs, including those based on differing architectures and protocols, a router acts as a link between LANs, enabling messages to be sent from one to another. In addition, communication links within LANs typically include twisted wire pair or coaxial cable, while communication links between networks may utilize analog telephone lines, full or fractional dedicated digital lines including Tl , T2, T3, and T4, and/ or other carrier mechanisms including, for example, E-carriers, Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDNs), Digital Subscriber Lines (DSLs), wireless links including satellite links, or other communications links known to those skilled in the art. Moreover, communication links may further employ any of a variety of digital signaling technologies, including without limit, for example, DS-0, DS-1, DS-2, DS-3, DS-4, OC-3, OC-12, OC-48, or the like. Furthermore, remote computers and other related electronic devices could be remotely connected to either LANs or WANs via a modem and temporary telephone link. In one embodiment, network 110 may be configured to transport information of an Internet Protocol (IP). In essence, network 110 includes any communication method by which information may travel between computing devices.

Additionally, communication media typically embodies computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. By way of example, communication media includes wired media such as twisted pair, coaxial cable, fiber optics, wave guides, and other wired media and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared, and other wireless media.

One embodiment of a Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 is described in more detail below in conjunction with FIGURE 3. Briefly, however, Commodity Server Computer 112 includes virtually any network computer capable of offering commodities such as products and services for sale, as well as other commercial transactions. Computers that may be arranged to operate as a Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 include various network computers, including, but not limited to personal computers, desktop computers, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, server computers, network appliances, and the like.

Although FIGURE 1 illustrates each Commodity Server Computer 112a, 112b, 112» as a single computer, the invention is not so limited. For example, one or more functions of the Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 may be distributed across one or more distinct network computers. Moreover, Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 is not limited to a particular configuration. Thus, in one embodiment, Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 may contain a plurality of network computers. In another embodiment, Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 may contain a plurality of network computers that operate using a master/ slave approach, where one of the plurality of network computers of Commodity Server Computer 112 is operative to manage and/or otherwise coordinate operations of the other network computers. In other embodiments, the Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 may operate as a plurality of network computers arranged in a cluster architecture, a peer-to-peer architecture, and/ or even within a cloud architecture. Thus, the invention is not to be construed as being limited to a single environment, and other configurations, and architectures are also envisaged.

One embodiment of Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 is described in more detail below in conjunction with FIGURE 3. Briefly, however, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 includes virtually any network computer capable of providing negotiation functionality to commerce servers, including commodity providers. Computers that may be arranged to operate as Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 include various network computers, including, but not limited to personal computers, desktop computers, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor- based or programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, server computers, network appliances, and the like.

Although FIGURE 1 illustrates Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 as a single computer, the various embodiments are not so limited. For example, one or more functions of the Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 may be distributed across one or more distinct network computers. Moreover, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 is not limited to a particular configuration. Thus, in one embodiment, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 may contain a plurality of network computers. In another embodiment, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 may contain a plurality of network computers that operate using a master/ slave approach, where one of the plurality of network computers of Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 operates to manage and/ or otherwise coordinate operations of the other network computers. In other embodiments, the Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 may operate as a plurality of network computers within a cluster architecture, a peer-to-peer architecture, and/ or even within a cloud architecture. Thus, the invention is not to be construed as being limited to a single environment, and other configurations, and architectures are also envisaged.

Although illustrated separately, a Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 and Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 may be employed as a single network computer, separate network computers, a cluster of network computers, or the like. In some embodiments, either Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 or Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or both, may be enabled to transact and negotiate commodities, respond to user interactions, track user interaction with the servers, update widgets and widgets controllers, or the like.

Illustrative Client Computer

FIGURE 2 shows one embodiment of Client Computer 200 that may be included in a system implementing embodiments of the invention. Client Computer 200 may include many more or less components than those shown in FIGURE 2. However, the components shown are sufficient to disclose an illustrative embodiment for practicing the present invention. Client Computer 200 may represent, for example, one embodiment of at least one of Client Computers 102-105 of FIGURE 1.

As shown in the figure, Client Computer 200 includes a processor 202 in communication with a mass memory 226 via a bus 234. In some embodiments, processor 202 may include one or more central processing units (CPU). Client Computer 200 also includes a power supply 228, one or more network interfaces 236, an audio interface 238, a display 240, a keypad 242, an illuminator 244, a video interface 246, an input/ output interface 248, a haptic interface 250, and a global positioning system (GPS) receiver 232.

Power supply 228 provides power to Client Computer 200. A rechargeable or non-rechargeable battery may be used to provide power. The power may also be provided by an external power source, such as an alternating current (AC) adapter or a powered docking cradle that supplements and/ or recharges a battery.

Client Computer 200 may optionally communicate with a base station (not shown), or directly with another computer. Network interface 236 includes circuitry for coupling Client Computer 200 to one or more networks, and is constructed for use with one or more communication protocols and technologies including, but not limited to, GSM, CDMA, TDMA, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA, LTE, user datagram protocol (UDP), transmission control protocol/Internet protocol

(TCP/IP), short message service (SMS), WAP, ultra wide band (UWB), IEEE 802.16 Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax), session initiated protocol/ real-time transport protocol (SIP/RTP), or any of a variety of other wireless communication protocols. Network interface 236 is sometimes known as a transceiver, transceiving device, or network interface card (NIC).

Audio interface 238 is arranged to produce and receive audio signals such as the sound of a human voice. For example, audio interface 238 may be coupled to a speaker and microphone (not shown) to enable telecommunication with others and/or generate an audio acknowledgement for some action.

Display 240 may be a liquid crystal display (LCD), gas plasma, light emitting diode (LED), organic LED, or any other type of display used with a computer.

Display 240 may also include a touch sensitive screen arranged to receive input from an object such as a stylus or a digit from a human hand.

Keypad 242 may comprise any input device arranged to receive input from a user. For example, keypad 242 may include a push button numeric dial, or a keyboard. Keypad 242 may also include command buttons that are associated with selecting and sending images.

Illuminator 244 may provide a status indication and/ or provide light.

Illuminator 244 may remain active for specific periods of time or in response to events. For example, when illuminator 244 is active, it may backlight the buttons on keypad 242 and stay on while the Client Computer is powered. Also, illuminator 244 may backlight these buttons in various patterns when particular actions are performed, such as dialing another client computer. Illuminator 244 may also cause light sources positioned within a transparent or translucent case of the client computer to illuminate in response to actions.

Video interface 246 is arranged to capture video images, such as a still photo, a video segment, an infrared video, or the like. For example, video interface 246 may be coupled to a digital video camera, a web-camera, or the like. Video interface 246 may comprise a lens, an image sensor, and other electronics. Image sensors may include a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit, charge-coupled device (CCD), or any other integrated circuit for sensing light.

Client computer 200 also comprises input/ output interface 248 for communicating with external devices, such as a headset, or other input or output devices not shown in FIGURE 2. Input/ output interface 248 can utilize one or more communication technologies, such as USB, infrared, Bluetooth™, or the like.

Haptic interface 250 is arranged to provide tactile feedback to a user of the client computer. For example, the haptic interface 250 may be employed to vibrate client computer 200 in a particular way when another user of a computing computer is calling. In some embodiments, haptic interface 250 may be optional.

Client computer 200 may also include GPS transceiver 232 to determine the physical coordinates of client computer 200 on the surface of the Earth. GPS transceiver 232, in some embodiments, may be optional. GPS transceiver 232 typically outputs a location as latitude and longitude values. However, GPS transceiver 232 can also employ other geo-positioning mechanisms, including, but not limited to, triangulation, assisted GPS (AGPS), Enhanced Observed Time Difference (E-OTD), Cell Identifier (CI), Service Area Identifier (SAI), Enhanced Timing Advance (ETA), Base Station Subsystem (BSS), or the like, to further determine the physical location of client computer 200 on the surface of the Earth. It is understood that under different conditions, GPS transceiver 232 can determine a physical location within millimeters for client computer 200; and in other cases, the determined physical location may be less precise, such as within a meter or significantly greater distances. In one embodiment, however, client computer 200 may through other components, provide other information that may be employed to determine a physical location of the computer, including for example, a Media Access Control (MAC) address, IP address, or the like.

Mass memory 226 includes a Random Access Memory (RAM) 204, a Readonly Memory (ROM) 222, and other storage means. Mass memory 226 illustrates an example of computer readable storage media (devices) for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Mass memory 226 stores a basic input/ output system (BIOS) 224 for controlling low- level operation of client computer 200. The mass memory also stores an operating system 206 for controlling the operation of client computer 200. It will be appreciated that this component may include a general-purpose operating system such as a version of UNIX, or LINUX™, or a specialized client communication operating system such as Microsoft Corporation's Windows Mobile™, Apple Corporation's iOS™, Google Corporation's Android™ or the Symbian® operating system. The operating system may include, or interface with a Java virtual machine module that enables control of hardware components and/or operating system operations via Java application programs.

Mass memory 226 further includes one or more data storage 208, which can be utilized by client computer 200 to store, among other things, applications 214 and/ or other data. For example, data storage 208 may also be employed to store information that describes various capabilities of client computer 200. The information may then be provided to another computer based on any of a variety of events, including being sent as part of a header during a communication, sent upon request, or the like. Data storage 208 may also be employed to store social networking information including address books, buddy lists, aliases, user profile information, or the like. Further, data storage 208 may also store message, we page content, or any of a variety of user generated content. At least a portion of the information may also be stored on another component of client computer 200, including, but not limited to processor readable storage media 230, a disk drive or other computer readable storage devices (not shown) within client computer 200.

Processor readable storage media 230 may include volatile, nonvolatile, removable, and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information, such as computer- or processor-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Examples of computer readable storage media include RAM, ROM, Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-only Memory (EEPROM), flash memory or other memory technology, Compact Disc Read-only Memory (CD-ROM), digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other physical medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by a computer. Processor readable storage media 230 may also be referred to herein as computer readable storage media and/ or computer readable storage device.

Applications 214 may include computer executable instructions which, when executed by client computer 200, transmit, receive, and/or otherwise process network data. Network data may include, but is not limited to, messages (e.g. SMS, Multimedia Message Service (MMS), instant message (IM), email, and/ or other messages), audio, video, and enable telecommunication with another user of another client computer. Applications 214 may include, for example, browser 218, and other applications 220. Other applications 220 may include, but are not limited to, calendars, search programs, email clients, IM applications, SMS applications, voice over Internet Protocol (V OIP) applications, contact managers, task managers, transcoders, database programs, word processing programs, security applications, spreadsheet programs, games, search programs, and so forth.

Browser 218 may include virtually any application configured to receive and display graphics, text, multimedia, messages, and the like, employing virtually any web based language. In one embodiment, the browser application is enabled to employ HDML, WML, WMLScript, JavaScript, SGML, HTML, XML, and the like, to display and send a message. However, any of a variety of other web-based programming languages may be employed. In one embodiment, browser 218 may enable a user of client computer 200 to communicate with another network computer, such as Commodity Provider Server Computer 112 and/ or Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1.

Applications 214 may also include Widget Controller 210 and one or more Widgets 212. Widgets 212 may be collections of content provided to the client computer by Commodity Provider Server Computer 112. Widget Controller 210 may be a program that may be provided to the client computer by Commodity Provider Server Computer 112. Widget Controller 210 and Widgets 212 may run as native client computer applications or they may run in Browser 218 as web browser based applications. Also, Widget Controller 210 and Widgets 212 may be arranged to run as native applications or web browser applications, or combination thereof.

Illustrative Network Computer

FIGURE 3 shows one embodiment of a network computer 300, according to one embodiment of the invention. Network computer 300 may include many more or less components than those shown. The components shown, however, are sufficient to disclose an illustrative embodiment for practicing the invention. Network computer 300 may be configured to operate as a server, client, peer, a host, or any other computer. Network computer 300 may represent, for example Commodity Provider Server Computers 112a, 112b, 112» and/ or Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1, and/ or other network computers as described herein.

Network computer 300 includes processor 302, processor readable storage media 328, network interface unit 330, an input/ output interface 332, hard disk drive 334, video display adapter 336, and memory 326, all in communication with each other via bus 338. In some embodiments, processor 302 may include one or more central processing units.

As illustrated in FIGURE 3, network computer 300 also can communicate with the Internet, or some other communications network, via network interface unit 330, which is constructed for use with various communication protocols including the TCP/IP protocol. Network interface unit 330 is sometimes known as a transceiver, transceiving device, or network interface card (NIC).

Network computer 300 also comprises input/ output interface 332 for communicating with external devices, such as a keyboard, or other input or output devices not shown in FIGURE 3. Input/ output interface 332 can utilize one or more communication technologies, such as USB, infrared, Bluetooth™, or the like.

Memory 326 generally includes RAM 304, ROM 322 and one or more permanent mass storage devices, such as hard disk drive 334, tape drive, optical drive, and/or floppy disk drive. Memory 326 stores operating system 306 for controlling the operation of network computer 300. Any general-purpose operating system may be employed. Basic input/ output system (BIOS) 324 is also provided for controlling the low-level operation of network computer 300.

Although illustrated separately, memory 326 may include processor readable storage media 328. Processor readable storage media 328 may be referred to and/ or include computer readable media, computer readable storage media, and/ or processor readable storage device. Processor readable storage media 328 may include volatile, nonvolatile, removable, and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information, such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Examples of processor readable storage media include RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other media which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by a computer.

Memory 326 further includes one or more data storage 308, which can be utilized by network computer 300 to store, among other things, applications 314 and/ or other data such as content 310. For example, data storage 308 may also be employed to store information that describes various capabilities of network computer 300. The information may then be provided to another computer based on any of a variety of events, including being sent as part of a header during a communication, sent upon request, or the like. Data storage 308 may also be employed to store messages, web page content, or the like. At least a portion of the information may also be stored on another component of network computer 300, including, but not limited to processor readable storage media 328, hard disk drive 334, or other computer readable storage medias (not shown) within client computer 300.

Data storage 308 may include a database, text, spreadsheet, folder, file, or the like, that may be configured to maintain and store user account identifiers, user profiles, email addresses, IM addresses, and/ or other network addresses; or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, Data storage 308 may include value and profile information 310, which may include information determined from one or more events for one or more users, commodity providers, or other entities.

Profile/Values Information 310 may include historical information and preference information for a user as well as comparison and transaction information based on some or all of the users and commercial providers that may be associated with the system, including transaction data, preference data, pricing data, and negotiation data.

Data storage 308 may further include program code, data, algorithms, and the like, for use by a processor, such as processor 302 to execute and perform actions. In one embodiment, at least some of data store 308 might also be stored on another component of network computer 300, including, but not limited to processor- readable storage media 328, hard disk drive 334, or the like.

Applications 312 may include computer executable instructions, which may be loaded into mass memory and run on operating system 306. Examples of application programs may include transcoders, schedulers, calendars, database programs, word processing programs, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) programs, customizable user interface programs, IPSec applications, encryption programs, security programs, SMS message servers, IM message servers, email servers, account managers, and so forth. Applications 312 may also include website server 314, Negotiation Application 316, Autobid Application 318, Facilitation Application 319, Determination Engine 320, and/ or Report Generator 321.

Website server 314 may represents any of a variety of information and services that are configured to provide content, including messages, over a network to another computer. Thus, website server 314 can include, for example, a web server, a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, a database server, a content server, or the like. Website server 314 may provide the content including messages over the network using any of a variety of formats including, but not limited to WAP, HDML, WML, SGML, HTML, XML, Compact HTML (cHTML), Extensible HTML (xHTML), or the like.

Negotiation Application 316 may be configured to offer commodity negotiation interfaces and/ or modules for negotiations and transactions that may be hosted on Commodity Provider Server Computer 112, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, Negotiation Application 316 may be operative on Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1. In any event, Negotiation Application 316 may employ processes, or parts of processes, similar to those described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7, to perform at least some of its actions.

Autobid Application 318 may be arranged and configured to provide automated bidding or offers for commodity providers or users for negotiations and transactions that may be hosted on Commodity Provider Server Computer 112,

Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, Autobid Application 318 may be operative on Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1. In any event, Autobid Application 318 may employ processes, or parts of processes, similar to those described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7 to perform at least some of its actions.

Facilitation Application 319 may be arranged and configured to provide negotiation facilitation for negotiations and transactions that may be hosted on Commodity Provider Server Computer 112, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments Facilitator Application

319 may be operative on Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1. In any event, Facilitation Application 319 may employ processes, or parts of processes, similar to those described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7, to perform at least some of its actions.

Determination Engine 320 may be arranged and configured to determine winners and transactions for negotiations and transactions that may be hosted on Commodity Provider Server Computer 112, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, Determination Engine

320 may be operative on Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1. In any event, Determination Engine 320 may employ processes, or parts of processes, similar to those described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7, to perform at least some of its actions.

Report Generator 321 may be arranged and configured to determine and/ or generate reports based on negotiations and transactions for negotiations and transactions that may be hosted on Commodity Provider Server Computer 112, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, Report Generator 321 may be operative on Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114 of FIGURE 1. In any event, Report Generator 321 may employ processes, or parts of processes, similar to those described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7, to perform at least some of its actions.

Illustrative Logical System Architecture

FIGURE 4 illustrates a logical architecture of system 400 for an expert negotiation system in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments. In at least one of the various embodiments, Negotiation Server 402 may be arranged to be in communication with Commerce Servers 404, Hosting Servers 406, Financial Services 408, or the like.

In at least one of the various embodiments, Negotiation Server 402 may be one or more computers arranged to provide expert negotiation for commodity providers and buyers/users, such as, Expert Negotiation Server Computer 114, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, Commerce Servers 404 may include one or more computers, such as, Commodity Provider Server Computer 112, or the like.

In at least one of the various embodiments, Hosting Servers 406, may include one or more computers, such as, network computer 300, or the like, that host one or more types commodity providers, service providers, or other hosting. In at least one of the various embodiments, hosting servers may be arranged to integrate with Negotiation Server 402.

In at least one of the various embodiments, Financial Services 408, may include one or more third-party and/or external finance provider services. Financial Services 408 may include, for example credit processing platforms, transaction processing platforms, insurance platforms, e-commerce platforms, or the like.

In at least one of the various embodiments, transactional data and content served from and/or hosted on Commerce Servers 404, Hosting Servers 406, and Financial Services 408 may be provided over network 410 to one or more client computers, such as, Client Computer 412, Client Computer 414, Client Computer 416, Client Computer 418, or the like.

In at least one of the various embodiments, the servers 404, 406, 408 may be arranged to integrate and/ or communicate with Negotiation Servers 402 using API's or other communication interfaces. For example, the Negotiation Sever server may offer a HTTP/REST based interface that enables servers 404, 406, 408 to determine various transactions that may be associated with commodity provided or transacted by the one of the servers. Further, Negotiation Server 402 may be arranged to communicate directly or indirectly over network 410 to the client computers using one or more direct network paths, such as network path 420. This communication may include information associated with one or more transactions or other events occurring on the client computers.

One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the architecture of system 400 is a non-limiting example that is illustrative of at least a portion of at least one of the various embodiments. As such, more or less components may be employed and/ or arranged differently without departing from the scope of the innovations described herein. However, system 400 is sufficient for disclosing at least the innovations claimed herein. FIGURE 5 represents a logical architecture for system 500 for negotiated transactions and analytics in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments. In at least one of the various embodiments, events from one or more event sources, such as, event source 502, event source 504, or event source 506 may be determined. In at least one of the various embodiments, event sources may include client computers, Negotiation Servers 402, Commerce Servers 404, Hosting Servers 406, Financial Services 408, network path 420, or the like. In at least one of the various embodiments, the determined events may correspond to various user interactions, display operations, impressions, or the like, related to transactions and negotiations that may be managed by a commerce server, such as, Commodity Provider Server 112, Negotiation Server Computer 114, network computer 300, or the like. For example, events may include offers, demands, bids, financing transactions, insuring transactions, commodity data, values, etc. In at least one of the various embodiments, system 500 may include more or fewer event sources than shown in FIGURE 5.

Events such as bids, offers, commodity information, user information, commodity provider information, pricing information from transactions and negotiations from one or more commerce servers 508, such as Negotiation Servers 402, Commerce Servers 404, Hosting Servers 406, Financial Services 408 are sent to one or more databases. In at least one of the various embodiments, values such as pricing, transaction, and negotiation information can be stored in a values database 514 and may be processed via event processing 509 as it is determined or received or stored for later processing. Profile information can be stored in a profile database 512 and can include profile information for users such as client users, buyers, commodity providers, financier profiles, insurer profiles, and so on. A commodity database 510 can include information about commodities such as products and services. The processed data can then be served to users and servers, including client computers, Negotiation Servers 402, Commerce Servers 404, Hosting Servers 406, Financial Services 408 for use in negotiations and transactions, for example as preference data, facilitation data, tracking data, filters, and so on, including as described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7. Generalized Operation

The operation of certain aspects of the invention will now be described with respect to FIGURES 6-7. In at least one of various embodiments, processes 600, 700 described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7, respectively, may be implemented by and/ or executed on a single network computer, such as network computer 300 of FIGURE 3. In other embodiments, these processes or portions of these processes may be implemented by and/ or executed on a plurality of network computers, such as network computer 300 of FIGURE 3. Likewise, in at least one of the various embodiments, processes 600 and 700, or portions thereof, may be operative on one or more client computers, such as client computer 200. However, embodiments are not so limited, and various combinations of network computers, client computers, virtual machines, or the like may be utilized. Further, in at least one of the various embodiments, the processes described in conjunction with FIGURES 6-7 may be operative in system with logical architectures such as those described in conjunction with FIGURES 4-5.

FIGURE 6 illustrates an overview flowchart for process 600 for including an expert commerce and negotiation system in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments. In at least one of the various embodiments, at a start block a user accesses a commodity provider's system to transact for a commodity such as a product or service. For example, a user may be accessing the system of an airline carrier or a travel service provider (e.g. Kayak™, Priceline™, TripAdvisor™, Expedia™, Travelosity™, Orbitz™, etc.) to purchase an airline ticket. Although embodiments are described herein using the example of travel transactions, as will be appreciated the system can be employed for any commodity transactions for any products or services, including financial products (e.g. insurance, finance contracts, option contracts).

At block 602, in at least one of the various embodiments, the system can be configured to request if the user would like to be given the opportunity to transact for one or more linked commodities. A linked commodity can be a commodity that is commercially proximate to the initial product, for example in the same time window, location, product usage, etc. For example, where the initial commodity is an airline ticket, the linked commodity can be, for example, a hotel room or other accommodations, such as a car rental, and travel insurance. At block 604 in at least one of the various embodiments, the system can be configured to prompt or present an interface for the user to submit an offer if the user agrees to transact for a linked commodity. The system can also be configured to allow the user to establish a user profile, which can further include preference information for the user. Preference information broadly includes any quantifiable or identifiable attribute for a commodity transaction, for example, particular commodity providers (e.g. via brand name or group association), commodity type (e.g., model of product, class), price and purchase preferences (e.g., percentage discount, best price offer, takes specific credit card, points, etc.), or features of the commodity itself (e.g., exit row seating for plane, king size bed for a hotel room).

At block 606, in at least one of the various embodiments, where the user agrees, the system is configured to broadcast a request to a plurality of commodity providers CI, C2, C3, C4, C5, Cn to participate in a linked-commodity negotiation with the buyer engaged in the transaction for the initial commodity.

At block 608, in at least one of the various embodiments, commodity providers CI, C3, C4, C5 that agree send bids to the expert negotiation module. For example, as shown in FIGURE 6, four commodity providers CI, C3, C4, C5 of the plurality of commodity providers CI, C2, C3, C4, C5, Cn agree to bid to offer a linked commodity to the user. In embodiments, the bids can be automated bids. For example, in an embodiment, the system can be configured to allow a commodity provider to responds to a negotiation request by automatically submitting a bid based on a price rule, for example a percentage differential or price differential of the listed or retail price for the commodity. In various embodiments, the system can also be configured to autobid as a function of the user's bid, for example agreeing to set a bid at within 10 percent of a user's offer if offer is within 15 percent under listed price, or auto-bidding only if a user profile indicates one or more preferences (e.g. user will accept any room in a hotel, user will bid for upgrade). In embodiments, each commodity provider's information is kept secure from other commodity providers, and the system can be configured to prevent gaming. For example, in an embodiment neither the transacting user nor commodity providers know which commodity providers are bidding for the opportunity to negotiate during the process, and only the winner is disclosed to the winning commodity provider and the user at the end of the process.

In various embodiments, at block 610 the system is configured to test the bids for the same commodities against a determination algorithm to select a winner to negotiate with the buyer for that linked-commodity. The determination algorithm can be, for example the highest bid for the commodity that is closest to the user's offer: for example if a user offers to purchase a hotel room for under $150.00 a night for 3 nights, the bidder with the highest bid under $150.00 will win the transaction. In another embodiment, the system can be configured to choose the winner based on the lowest bid meeting the user's criteria, for example if a user offers to purchase a hotel room for under $150.00 a night for 3 nights, the bidder with the lowest bid under $150.00 will win the transaction. In another embodiment, the determination algorithm may include further conditions, for example the highest or lowest bid within a price window, for example within a percentage or price of an average retail price for the commodity, or the highest or lowest bid within a percentage or price of a user's offer. In another embodiment, the user may agree to transact for a linked commodity without making an offer (e.g. awaiting a negotiation), in which case the determination algorithm can be configured to determine a winner absent a user's offer (e.g. highest bid, lowest bid, highest or lowest within thresholds, closest to a target amount, etc.)

In an embodiment, the bids to negotiate with the winner may be unrelated the to price of the commodity, for example, the winner simply bids to purchase the right to enter negotiations with the user from a third party to the transaction (e.g. the service, the provider of the initial commodity, a sponsor, etc.).

In various embodiments, where the buyer has a user profile including preference information for commodities, the preference information can being employed by the determination algorithm to determine a winner. For example, a user indicates he or she always wants a convertible car for a car rental, the system can be configured to prefer bids for linked commodity providers of rental cars that have convertible cars available for the user to rent for at the time of the user's travel. In the case of multiple preferences (e.g.: always wants convertible, prefers providers with shared award points) the system can be configured to weight preferences in accord with the user preferences (e.g.: "always," "never," "if available," as well as employ other filters and weights, including those identified by commodity providers (e.g.: offer extra 2.5% on bid for "gold member" users, offer higher discounts for first class seating).

In various embodiments, as shown at block 612 the system can test bids for one or more commodities, hence there can be a winner for each commodity offered (e.g. a winner for a hotel room and a winner for car rental).

In various embodiments, at block 614 the system is configured to presenting the buyer with an opportunity to enter into a transaction with the winning commodity provider for the commodity. In an embodiment, the offer presented may be the same as that of the winning bid, for example where the user made an up-front offer prior to the linked commodity provider bidding for the right to negotiate with the user at block 608.

In another embodiment the winning linked commodity buyer and the user can be presented with the opportunity to engage in a multi-round bidding transaction for the linked commodity. A non-limiting example of multi-round bidding can be found in U.S. Patent No. 7,840,440 entitled Computerized Transaction Bargaining System and Method, filed on October 10, 2003 and issued on November 23, 2010, the entirety of which incorporated by reference hereby. For example, the system can be configured to process a transaction between users via a series of offers and counter- offers to satisfy a transaction. In embodiments, the system compares offers and counter-offers on a round-by-round basis in accordance with preestablished conditions. The determination algorithm can be configured to communicate and process the offers and the counter-offers using at least one central processing unit by pairing offers and counter-offers and comparing them. The computer system includes operating system software for controlling the central processing unit, a way to introduce information into the central processing unit, and memory for storing the information. In an embodiment the one, two, or all parties communicate only with the computer, which acts as a proxy, always avoiding direct communication with each other for purposes of bargaining.

Exemplary preestablished conditions under which the comparison is made include the following: if the offer in any round is less than the counter-offer and within a preestablished percentage, for example thirty percent, of the counter-offer in the same round, i.e. the offer is greater than or equal to seventy percent of the counter-offer, the transaction is completed for an amount in accordance with a first preestablished formula, for example, the median amount between the counter-offer and the offer. If the offer in any round is the same as or greater than the counteroffer, the transaction is completed for the counter-offer amount. If the offer is not within the preestablished percentage of the counter-offer in all rounds, for example if seventy percent of the counter-offer is greater than the offer, the transaction is not completed unless the difference between the offer and counter-offer is less than a preestablished amount, for example $5,000, in which transaction the transaction is completed for an amount in accordance with a second preestablished formula, for example at the median amount between the counter-offer and the offer. Thus, first and second preestablished formulas may be the same as or different from each other depending on the agreement of the parties.

In an embodiment there will be a plurality of rounds for multi round bargaining. For example, in an embodiment there can be up to three offers for each transaction in a bargaining arrangement. In those instances, each counter-offer will be compared with the offer of the same number (i.e. Counter-offer #1 to offer #1, Counter-offer #2 to offer #2, etc.). The computer matches the agreement offer against the party's counter-offer and performs its programmed calculations in order to determine whether or not an agreement has been achieved. Where the counter-offer and offer intersect in accordance with preestablished conditions, agreement is reached. In the intersection transaction where the counter-offer is less than or equal to the offer, then the transaction is completed at an agreement amount equal to the counter-offer. In the intersection transaction where the counter-offer exceeds the offer, the system will can split the difference if the offer is also within a preestablished percentage, for example 70% of the counter-offer (i.e. counter-offerx0.70<=offer).

In such transaction, the agreement amount can calculated to be the median or another split of the two, i.e., the counter-offer plus the offer divided by two (if median). If 70% of the counter-offer is still greater than the offer, there is no agreement unless the difference between the counter-offer and offer is less than a preestablished amount, for example $5,000, in which transaction the transaction is completed for the median amount between the counter-offer and the offer. Additionally, as an option a "power round" option may be made available. With a power round, an additional opportunity is given, or a parameter is changed to increase the prospect of an agreement being reached.

In various embodiments, at block 616 the transaction is completed or finished, which may result in completing the transaction and purchasing the commodity, or may result in the user not purchasing the linked commodity. In various embodiments, at block 617, if there is another offer to be made to a user, for example for one or more other commodity providers who won the right to present an offer, the next offer is presented to the user as shown in block 614 and the user can again engage in and complete a transaction as given in block 616. In various embodiments, the system can be configured to present offers to the user until all offers are presented to the user or until the user indicates he or she is no longer accepting offers for linked commodities. In embodiments, the system can be configured to allow a user to return to complete transactions for a time window, for example 24 or 48 hours after an initial transaction or for a time period up to the time the initial service or product is used.

In at least one of the various embodiments, pricing, transaction and negotiation information may be stored in one or more data stores, for later processing and/or analysis. Likewise, in at least one of the various embodiments, pricing, transaction and negotiation information may be processed as it is determined or received. Also, pricing transaction and negotiation information may be stored in data stores, such as databases, for use as historical information and/or comparison information.

In various embodiments, at block 620, data for the transaction is sent to one or more databases. As data is collected in the database, the expert system can be configured to train negotiation modules on the data to provide enhanced negotiation tools for commodity providers and users to negotiate transactions. For example, the system can be configured to track pricing data for a given commodity and user to determine the most likely percentage differential a commodity transacts for based on, inter alia, demographics, region, time of purchase, frequency of purchase, etc. In embodiments, the expert system can be configured to provide facilitation guidance to a commodity provider or linked commodity provider indicating the likelihood of success of a bid or autobid parameter. For example, the expert system may allow a commodity provider to access a service that uses pricing data to provide indications that an autobid parameter of 15% under a listed retail price for a service is likely to result in a successful bid 85% of the time in a peak period for that service, whereas at other periods a bid Of 10% under a listed price is more successful.

FIGURE 7 illustrates an overview flowchart for process 700 for a commercial transaction system in accordance with at least one of the various embodiments. In at least one of the various embodiments, at a start block a user accesses a commodity provider's system to transact for a commodity such as a product or service. For example, a user may be accessing the system of an airline carrier or a travel service provider (e.g. Kayak™, Priceline™, TripAdvisor™, Expedia™, Travelosity™, Orbitz™, etc.) to purchase an airline ticket.

At block 702, in at least one of the various embodiments, the system can be configured to request if the user would like to be given the opportunity to purchase an option to reserve buy the commodity or a different, related commodity at a later time. Where the commodity has limited availability, the system can be configured to prevent other users and potential buyers from purchasing the commodity.

If the user agrees, at block 704, the selected commodity is reserved for a specific time period, referred to as the option period. During the option period, the system is configured to keep the commodity available during that period. In an embodiment, the system can be configured to prevent other users and potential buyers from purchasing the commodity, as for example with a unique commodity or one with limited availability. Using the example where the commodity is an airline ticket, a user can be offered to purchase an option for a specific seat or class of seats on a specific flight. If so, the system is configured to prevent other users for transacting for that selected seat or to prevent other users purchasing a number of seats that would make the class of seats for which options are purchased unavailable.

In various embodiments, at block 706 the user exercises the option. In various embodiments, the system can be configured to reserve the commodity at a specific price, for example the price at the time the option is offered. In various embodiments, the system can be configured to price the commodity at the listed price when the option is exercised. In another embodiment, the system can be configured to present the opportunity to engage in a bidding transaction for the optioned commodity, including a multi-round bidding process as described above and in U.S. Patent No. 7,840,440 entitled Computerized Transaction Bargaining System and Method, filed on October 10, 2003 and issued on November 23, 2010, the entirety of which incorporated by reference hereby.

At block 708 the user completes the transaction, at which point the user may be offered the opportunity to purchase linked commodities as described herein. In another embodiment, the system can be configured to allow the user start and/or complete a negotiation as described with respect to FIGURE 6 herein for a linked commodity. In another embodiment, the system can be configured to allow the user start and/ or complete a negotiation as described with respect to FIGURE 6 herein during the option period, even if the user does not exercise the option itself.

In various embodiments, at block 707 the system can be configured to accept conditional offers from other users during the option period. For example, when one or more users have purchased a quantity of options to make a commodity unavailable for purchase as described above, the system can be configured to accept conditional offers from other users for the optioned commodity, which can be transacted upon if the option period expires and one or more of the options have not been exercised. For example, in the case of an airline ticket, when a user enters a system for purchasing a seat, the system can be configured to show that the seat is unavailable due to an option, and further configured to allow the user to reserve or option another seat and submit an offer on the optioned seat. In embodiments, the system can be configured to accept offers on a first come, first serve basis after the option has expired and has not been exercised. In embodiments, the system can be configured to accept offers as bids, indicating the highest offer will win the seat if the option is not exercised.

In various embodiments, at block 709 the option period expires; if one or more options have not been exercised, at block 710 the system transacts for the previously optioned commodity with users who submitted offers. As noted above, the system can transaction can be consummated on a first come, first serve basis, or on an auction basis. In various embodiments, the system can also be configured to present the opportunity to engage in a bidding transaction for the commodity, including a multi-round bidding process. A non-limiting example of multi-round bidding as described above and in U.S. Patent No. 7,840,440 entitled Computerized Transaction Bargaining System and Method, filed on October 10, 2003 and issued on November 23, 2010, the entirety of which incorporated by reference hereby.

At block 708 the user completes the transaction, at which point the user may be offered the opportunity to purchase linked commodities as described herein. In another embodiment, the system can be configured to allow the user start and/ or complete a negotiation as described with respect to FIGURE 6 herein for a linked commodity.

In various embodiments, at block 712, data for the transaction is sent to one or more databases. As data is collected in the database, the expert system can be configured to train negotiation modules on the data to provide enhanced negotiation tools for commodity providers and users to negotiate transactions.

It will be understood that each block of the flowchart illustration, and combinations of blocks in the flowchart illustration, can be implemented by computer program instructions. These program instructions may be provided to a processor to produce a machine, such that the instructions, which execute on the processor, create means for implementing the actions specified in the flowchart block or blocks. The computer program instructions may be executed by a processor to cause a series of operational steps to be performed by the processor to produce a computer- implemented process such that the instructions, which execute on the processor to provide steps for implementing the actions specified in the flowchart block or blocks. The computer program instructions may also cause at least some of the operational steps shown in the blocks of the flowchart to be performed in parallel. Moreover, some of the steps may also be performed across more than one processor, such as might arise in a multi-processor computer system or even a group of multiple computer systems. In addition, one or more blocks or combinations of blocks in the flowchart illustration may also be performed concurrently with other blocks or combinations of blocks, or even in a different sequence than illustrated without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. In at least one of the various embodiments, the blocks of the flowchart illustration may include processes and/ or API's for generating user interfaces for a user or commodity provider to interact with the expert negotiation system as well as back end API's to integrate servers. Accordingly, blocks of the flowchart illustration support combinations of means for performing the specified actions, combinations of steps for performing the specified actions and program instruction means for performing the specified actions. It will also be understood that each block of the flowchart illustration, and combinations of blocks in the flowchart illustration, can be implemented by special purpose hardware-based systems, which perform the specified actions or steps, or combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions. The foregoing example should not be construed as limiting and/ or exhaustive, but rather, an illustrative use case to show an implementation of at least one of the various embodiments of the invention.

Claims

Claims
1. An expert system for commercial transactions over a network, comprising:
a network computer, including:
a transceiver for communicating over the network;
a memory for storing at least instructions;
a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including:
allowing a user to purchase an option to purchase a commodity, wherein the option locks out other bidders for that commodity an option period;
if the user purchases the option, reserving the commodity for the option period until such time as the user exercises the option or the option period expires.
2. The system of Claim 1, further comprising:
accepting conditional offers for the optioned commodity from other users during the option period; and
transacting with one or more users who made conditional offers during the option period once the option period expires.
3. An expert system for commercial transactions and automated negotiations over a network, comprising:
a network computer, including:
a transceiver for communicating over the network;
a memory for storing at least instructions;
a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including:
broadcasting an opportunity to commodity providers to participate in a linked- commodity negotiation with a buyer engaged in a transaction for an initial commodity;
accepting bids from the commodity providers;
testing the bids for the same commodities against a determination algorithm to select a winner to negotiate with the buyer for that commodity.
The system of Claim 3, wherein the linked commodity is linked to an initial by at least one of price, location, time, and uniqueness of the commodity.
5. The system of Claim 3, wherein the winner and the buyer are presented with the opportunity to engage in a multi-round bidding transaction for the linked commodity.
6. The system of Claim 3, wherein data for the transaction is sent to a database for event analysis.
7. The system of Claim 3, the expert system provides facilitation guidance to the linked commodity provider indicating the likelihood of success of an autobid parameter.
8. The system of Claim 3, wherein the buyer has a user profile including preference information for commodities, the preference information being employed by the determination algorithm to determine a winner.
9. The system of Claim 3, wherein the system includes a commodity provider profile including commodity provider information, the commodity provider information being employed by the determination algorithm to determine a winner.
10. An expert system for commercial transactions and automated negotiations over a network, comprising:
a network computer, including:
a transceiver for communicating over the network;
a memory for storing at least instructions;
a processor device that is operative to execute instructions that enable actions, including:
broadcasting an opportunity to linked commodity providers to participate in a linked-commodity negotiation with a buyer engaged in a transaction for an initial commodity;
accepting autobids from the linked commodity providers;
testing the autobids for the same commodities against a determination algorithm to select a winner to negotiate with the buyer for that linked-commodity.
presenting the buyer with an opportunity to enter into a transaction with the winning commodity provider for the commodity.
11. The system of Claim 10, wherein the autobid is a percent or price differential of the listed price for the commodity.
PCT/US2017/034661 2016-05-26 2017-05-26 Expert system and methods for commercial transactions and automated negotiation WO2017205731A1 (en)

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US62/342,018 2016-05-26

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