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Full text of "USPTO Patents Application 09869538"

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What is Claimed is: 



1 1 . A method for introducing a host-selected vendor to a customer through the 

2 Internet for the purpose of selling a particular product or service and without 

3 disrupting existing relationships between the customer and its vendors for the 

4 product or service, comprising the steps of: 

5 (a) obtaining at a host Web site a request received from the customer 

6 through an Internet connection; 

7 (b) obtaining at the host Web site relationship-data which relates the 

8 request to one or more vendors selected by the customer; 

9 (c) conveying the request obtained by the host Web site to the 

10 customer-selected vendors; and 

11 (d) conveying the request to the host-approved vendor only upon a 

12 prescribed condition. 

1 2. The method as in claim 1, including the additional step of reporting to the 

2 customer any responses to the request through the Internet connection. 

1 3. The method as in claim 1, wherein the host-approved vendor is one of the 

2 host Web site and a third-party vendor. 

1 4. The method as in claim 1 , wherein the requests are requests for quotes and the 

2 responses are quotes. 

1 5 . The method as in claim 1 , including the additional steps of obtaining from the 

2 customer (1) a product or service selection and (2) one or more vendor 

3 selections for said product or service selection. 

1 6. The method as in claim 1 , wherein the conveying step comprises transmitting 

2 the request to the customer-selected vendors by means selected from the 

3 group of: EDI, e-mail, fax, telephone and the host Website. 

1 7. The method as in claim 1, wherein the response is reported to the customer 



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2 through one of EDI, e-mail, fax, telephone and the host Web site. 

1 8. The method as in claim 1, wherein the relationship-data is maintained in a 

2 data store connected to a server, and the server maintains the host Web site. 

1 9. The method as in claim 1, wherein the host Web site maintains a catalog of 

2 information to satisfy the request. 

1 10. The method as in claim 1 , wherein the step of conveying the request to a host- 

2 approved vendor is performed automatically. 

1 11. The method as in claim 1 , wherein the prescribed condition is that no single 

2 one of the customer-selected vendors can fully satisfy the order. 

1 12. The method as in claim 11, wherein the step of conveying the request to a 

2 host-approved vendor is performed automatically. 

1 13. The method as in claim 1, wherein the prescribed condition is that the 

2 customer-selected vendors collectively cannot fully satisfy the order. 

1 14. The method as in claim 13, wherein the step of conveying the request to a 

2 host-approved vendor is performed automatically. 

1 15. A method for facilitating e-commerce between a customer and a set of pre- 

2 selected vendors with whom the customer has an existing relationship, said 

3 pre-selected vendors each having an established communication format with 

4 the customer, comprising the steps of: 

5 (a) accepting over an Internet connection a request from a customer; 

6 (b) for each of said pre-selected vendors formatting said request for 

7 delivery in the established communication format of the customer 

8 with that vendor; 

9 (c) delivering in the established communication format said request to 

1 0 each of said pre-selected vendors; and 

1 1 (d) providing to the customer over the Internet a response to said request. 



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1 16. The method of claim 15, wherein said formatting step comprises for each of 

2 the pre-selected vendors, the steps of: 

3 (1) obtaining a transmission mode correlated with one of said pre- 

4 selected vendors; and 

5 (2) converting said request in accordance with said obtained transmission 

6 mode to format said request for that vendor. 

1 17. The method of claim 16, wherein said obtaining step comprises the steps of: 

2 (A) accessing a database containing a set of transmission modes 

3 associated with each of a set of vendors; 

4 (B) identifying for each of said pre-selected vendors with whom the 

5 customer has an existing relationship an ordered set of transmission 

6 modes; and 

7 (C) selecting the transmission mode with a highest order value. 

1 18. The method of claim 16, wherein said delivering step includes transmitting 

2 data over a connection selected from the group of: the Internet, an electronic 

3 data interface, e-mail, a facsimile machine, and a telephone. 

1 19. The method of claim 15, including the additional step of obtaining 

2 vendor-selection data from the customer over the Internet connection, the 

3 vendor-selection data defining at least a subset of said set of vendors wherein 

4 the vendor-selection data is selected from among a multiplicity of vendors. 

1 20. The method of claim 19, comprising the additional step of associating a part 

2 number selection with the vendor-selection data. 

1 21. The method of claim 1 5, wherein a preexisting buyer/purchaser relationship 

2 exists between said customer and said pre-selected vendors. 

1 22. The method of claim 15, wherein said request includes a product identifier. 

1 23. The method of claim 15, wherein said vendors sell products. 



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1 24. The method of claim 1 5 , wherein, in the event that there are plural responses, 

2 recommending a particular one of the responses based upon predetermined 

3 criteria. 

1 25 . A method for providing a customer with responses that satisfy a request, the 

2 request and responses thereto being conveyed across a distributed computer 

3 network between at least a customer station and a host, comprising the steps 

4 of: 

5 (a) providing from the customer station a request to purchase a product 

6 or service; 

7 (b) providing from the customer station information which relates one or 

8 more customer-selected vendors with whom the customer has an 

9 existing relationship with the product or service in the request; 

10 (c) receiving from the host any responses to the request from the 

1 1 customer-selected vendors; and 

12 (d) receiving from the host responses to the request from one or more 

1 3 host-approved vendors only upon a prescribed condition. 

1 26. The method as in claim 25, wherein the step of receiving the request from the 

2 host-approved vendors is performed automatically upon the prescribed 

3 condition being satisfied. 

1 27. The method as in claim 25, wherein the prescribed condition is that the 

2 customer-selected vendors collectively cannot fully satisfy the request. 

1 28. The method as in claim 25, wherein the prescribed condition is that no single 

2 one of the customer-selected vendors can fully satisfy the request. 

1 29. The method as in claim 25, wherein the responses from the customer-selected 

2 vendors and the host-approved vendors are in the form of one of EDI, e-mail, 

3 fax, telephone and the host Web site. 




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30. The method as in claim 25, wherein the host-approved vendor is one of the 
host Web site and a third-party vendor.