The patent's assignee for patent number 8650119 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Transaction processing has typically involved intensive manual effort and, in instances where automatic processing has been used, intensive user intervention. For example, transaction processes involve the use of a variety of transaction documents such as orders, invoices, receipts and bills of lading (BOL). These types of transaction documents include information associated with the transaction that is used by parties to the transaction to monitor and process the transaction.
"Transaction documents are electronically processed for a multitude of different types of applications. Interaction data, (e.g., electronic or physical documents) describing characteristics of a particular transaction interaction is often encountered in varied temporal order at central transaction locations that assemble these documents into logical packages for automated processing. For example, when a transaction involves the sale of a product from a seller to a buyer, there are often multiple parties to the transaction in addition to the buyer and seller, such as shippers, financial institutions, distributors and regulatory agencies (e.g., customs, taxation agencies). Each of these parties often provides one or more different types of documents that relate to the transaction. Often, the documents are not in a format that is readily discernible relative to documents from other parties, requiring extensive effort to organize the documents into categories or transactions.
"A variety of transactions are particularly susceptible to processing difficulties such as those relating to document identification and categorization. For example, pre-payment reconciliation and auditing for a particular transaction are often automatically carried out electronically at a central processor. Documents used for these functions can arrive at the central processor in either an untimely manner or a format that is unsuitable for identification and categorization of the documents into particular transactions. As another example, a customs clearance document referencing a particular invoice could arrive at a central processor before the invoice, which could also arrive before the actual order arrives. Without an invoice to tie the customs clearance document, the central processor has difficulty managing the document. Similarly, without an order to attribute an invoice to, the central processor may be unable to process the invoice (e.g., is unable to audit the invoice against the order).
"Another type of incompatibility that has made transaction processing difficult is related to the common scenario wherein reference numbers used by different parties to identify a particular transaction are not compatible. For example, in transactions involving buyers and sellers, sellers maintain transaction data organized by reference numbers generated by the seller. Buyers typically must access the data using a seller's reference number rather than the buyer's reference number. In addition, buyers and sellers typically use different reference numbers for different characteristics of the transaction, making the monitoring and management of the transaction difficult.
"As more and more documents are required to fully articulate interactions, this problem of managing documents and other interaction data and, in particular, of correlating documents and other interaction data with a proper transaction, becomes increasingly challenging. Manual parsing and categorization of these documents is expensive, time consuming and susceptible to error. Previously available automated approaches are generally limited in applicability to certain types of documents or certain inflexible methods of document identification and categorization.
"Payment and billing related aspects of traditional transactions are particularly susceptible to billing errors and fraud. For example, there often is little to no connection between the delivery of goods and the billing for the delivery and/or the goods. This may result in double billing, no billing at all, or overbilling. Auditing errors that cause incorrect billing or payment may also occur. In addition, payment can often be delayed while aspects of a particular transaction are being audited and/or disputed, particularly when different transaction documents must be manually parsed and processed. For example, documents from different parties to a transaction must often be parsed and compared to relate data from one document to another in a manner that will facilitate billing. Delay associated with billing reduces working capital resources for parties to the transaction waiting for payment.
"Additional costs arise as a result of existing inefficiencies in a variety of transaction-processing approaches. Many of the costs are individually small, but very large in the aggregate. For example, typical parties to transactions incur administrative costs including those relating to the costs for creating and delivering transaction documents, resolving billing disputes, providing a signed copy of documents to other parties and posting accounts receivable. In addition, the cost of parsing, recognizing and categorizing documents related to these and other items add to the administrative costs of transactions.
"An additional challenge to transaction management involves the inability to obtain immediate information regarding a transaction. Transaction data from one party is typically not readily available to other parties involved with the transaction without direct access to private-party systems. Since the process is largely conducted manually, it is very difficult to track a transaction and real-time data is particularly difficult to come by. For example, there are various manual steps involved in order to learn of the status of shipment or payment. If a shipper wants to know if a carrier delivered the goods for a particular transaction and if the payment has been made, the shipper often must contact the carrier and/or the appropriate financial institution.
"The above and other difficulties in the management and coordination of transactions have presented challenges to the effective and efficient management of transactions."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention is directed to overcoming the above-mentioned challenges and others related to the types of approaches and implementations discussed above and in other applications. The present invention is exemplified in a number of implementations and applications, some of which are summarized below.
"According to an example embodiment of the present invention, interactions are managed using an approach generally involving the use of transaction status criteria for processing payment-related aspects of the interactions.
"In a more particular example embodiment of the present invention, interaction status conditions related to order fulfillment and related payments are monitored and/or processed as received. When changes to order fulfillment and/or related payment(s) occur and/or when new order fulfillment and payment information is received, these changes are used to automatically update status conditions. The updated status conditions are implemented for one or more of a variety of transaction processing and management approaches.
"In another example embodiment of the present invention, a transaction-processing system is adapted for managing payment resources for transactions involving merchant offerings among parties including buyers and sellers. The system includes a data storage arrangement, including one or more data storage devices at one or more locations, adapted to store order-related information for a transaction between a buyer and a seller. Often, the order-related information includes data in fields associated with historical fulfillment and billed quantities for ordered items of the transaction. A computer (e.g., processing) arrangement is adapted, for a particular ordered item, to compare billed quantity information on an incoming invoice with historical fulfillment and billed quantity information for the ordered item in the data storage arrangement. If the billed quantity on the incoming invoice is no more than the difference between the historical fulfillment quantity and billed quantity information for the ordered item in the data storage arrangement, payment of the invoice is authorized. In connection with the authorization, historical billed quantities for the ordered item are updated in the data storage arrangement to include the billed quantity in the incoming invoice.
"The above summary of the present invention is not intended to describe each illustrated embodiment or every implementation of the present invention. The figures and detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify these embodiments."
For additional information on this patent, see: Hahn-Carlson, Dean W.; Suits, David A.; Kanathur,
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