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Publication numberWO2001052206 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/ZA2000/000004
Publication date19 Jul 2001
Filing date10 Jan 2000
Priority date10 Jan 2000
Publication numberPCT/2000/4, PCT/ZA/0/000004, PCT/ZA/0/00004, PCT/ZA/2000/000004, PCT/ZA/2000/00004, PCT/ZA0/000004, PCT/ZA0/00004, PCT/ZA0000004, PCT/ZA000004, PCT/ZA2000/000004, PCT/ZA2000/00004, PCT/ZA2000000004, PCT/ZA200000004, WO 0152206 A1, WO 0152206A1, WO 2001/052206 A1, WO 2001052206 A1, WO 2001052206A1, WO-A1-0152206, WO-A1-2001052206, WO0152206 A1, WO0152206A1, WO2001/052206A1, WO2001052206 A1, WO2001052206A1
InventorsRobert John Powell
ApplicantRobert John Powell
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Internet business method
WO 2001052206 A1
Abstract
The invention provides a method of conducting business over the internet. The method includes at least linking via internet a business provider to an internet business management provider, such that when a client of the business provider accesses the business provider in order to conduct a business transaction, the client is directed, directly or indirectly, to the internet business management provider, which verifies the authenticity of the client by more than one security procedure, and if all security procedures are satisfied, a business transaction can be conducted, whereafter details of the business transaction are transmitted to the business provider for processing.
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
1. A method of conducting business over the internet, the method including at least the following step: linking via internet a business provider to an internet business management provider, such that when a client of the business provider accesses the business provider in order to conduct a business transaction, the client is directed, directly or indirectly, to the internet business management provider, which verifies the authenticity of the client by more than one security procedure, and if all security procedures are satisfied, a business transaction between the client and business provider can be conducted, whereafter details of the business transaction are transmitted to the business provider for processing.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the client is unaware of the internet business management provider, and the business transaction is conducted as if the client is dealing directly with the business provider.
3. A method as claimed in either of claims 1 or 2, wherein the internet business management provider is linked to a website of the business provider.
4. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the internet business management provider is linked to a computer or computer network of the business provider.
5. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein details of the business provider are stored with the internet business management provider.
6. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein details of clients which have been authorised by the business provider to conduct business over the internet are stored with the internet business management provider, typically in a database specific to the business provider.
7. A method as claimed in claim 6, wherein the client details include prices of products which are specific to the client.
8. A method as claimed in claim 6, wherein the client details include purchase restrictions which have been placed on the client.
9. A method as claimed in claim 6, wherein the client details include security details for verifying the authenticity of the client.
10. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the security procedures which are conducted by the internet business management provider in order to verify the authenticity of the client include at least requesting from the client details provided on a token previously issued to the client by the business provider, and a password.
11. A method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the token is a card.
12. A method as claimed in claim 11 , wherein the required details on the card are a card number or information encoded on a magnetic strip which is readable by a card reader.
13. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the security procedures further require the client to submit a thumbprint or fingerprint, which may be electronically scanned.
14. A method as claimed in any one of claims 11 to 13, wherein the internet business management provider compares the card details and password submitted by the client with the security details already stored.
15. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein an order number is requested from the client.
16. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein a list of products and/or services offered for sale by the business provider is displayed, and a client can select desired products and/or services therefrom.
17. A method as claimed in claim 16, wherein the client is required to
confirm the order.
18. A method as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 17, wherein the order is processed by the internet business management provider, and the processed order is sent to the business provider.
19. A method as claimed in claim 18, wherein processing of the order includes one or more of the following steps: debiting the client's account, requesting payment authorisation from a financial institution, making entries into accounting and sales books of the business provider, adjusting inventory levels of the business provider, generating an invoice, generating an order reference number and transferring this information to the business provider.
20. A computer program for facilitating business transactions over the internet, the computer program including computer-executable instructions for: linking at least a portion of a computer system of a business provider to a computer system of an internet business management provider; verifying the authenticity of a client connected via internet to the business provider; providing a product or service list of the business provider from which the client can make desired selections; obtaining a purchase order from the client; at least partially processing the purchase order; and transmitting details of the transaction to the business provider.
21. A computer program as claimed in claim 20, which further includes instructions for substantially processing the transaction, including one or more of the following steps: debiting the client's account; requesting payment authorisation from a financial institution; making entries into accounting and sales books of the business provider; adjusting inventory levels of the business provider; generating an invoice; and generating an order number.
22. A computer program as claimed in either of claims 20 or 21 , which is recorded on a data carrier.
23. A computer operated by means of a program as claimed in any one of claims 20 to 23.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Internet Business Method

The invention provides a method of conducting business over the

internet and a computer program for such a method of conducting

business.

Background of the invention

More and more companies are currently offering goods and services

for sale over the internet, and e-commerce is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years. One problem with conducting business over the internet is that in many instances it is not possible to

verify the origin of an order or trace the source at a later stage. It is

thus possible that a person could fraudulently place an order, perhaps

even using a reputable person's or company's name, the ordered goods or services could be collected or delivered, and then only at the

payment stage would it be uncovered that the order was fraudulent.

Even if it were possible to trace the origin of the order to a particular

source, the cost of which is prohibitive to many businesses, it is even

more difficult to prove that a particular person placed the order and

received the goods or services, which is necessary in order to establish liability before a court. Another problem is that many businesses do not have the resources and/or the facilities for conducting business over the internet. This is particularly so with smaller businesses, where the cost of administering such a facility could prove exorbitant relative to the volume of business

which is conducted through this process.

There is therefore a need for a method of conducting business over the

internet which offers security for both a business provider and a client,

and which also minimises the resources required by the business

provider.

Summary of the invention

Thus according to a first embodiment of the invention there is provided a method of conducting business over the internet, the method

including at least the following step:

linking via internet a business provider to an internet business

management provider, such that when a client of the business provider

accesses the business provider in order to conduct a business

transaction, the client is directed, directly or indirectly, to the internet

business management provider, which verifies the authenticity of the

client by more than one security procedure, and if all security

procedures are satisfied, a business transaction can be conducted,

whereafter details of the business transaction are transmitted to the

business provider for processing. The client may bo unaware of the internet business management provider, and all tha steps may be conducted as if the client is dealing directly with the business provider.

The internet business management provider may be linked to a website

of the business provider. The internet business management provider may further be linked to a computer or computer network of the

business provider, thereby permitting entries to be recorded in the

relevant sales book, debtor book, inventories, bank account and the

like when a transaction has been processed by the internet business

management provider.

Details of the business provider may be stored with the internet business management provider. These details may include details of

the products and/or services offered by the business provider.

Details of clients which have been authorised by the business provider

to conduct business over the internet may also be stored with the

internet business management provider, typically in a database specific to the business provider. These details may also include prices of

products which may be specific to the client and any purchase

restrictions which have been placed on the client. For example, the

client may be restricted to purchasing only certain products and/or

services, or may be prevented from purchasing products and/or

services which exceed a certain value. The details may further include

security details for verifying the authenticity of the client. The security procedures which are conducted by the internet business management provider in order to verify the authenticity of the client may include at least requesting from the client details provided on a

token previously issued to the client by the business provider, and a

password. For example, the token may be a card and the required

details on the card may be a card number or may be information

encoded on a magnetic strip which is readable by a card reader. Further security procedures may require the client to submit a

thumbprint or fingerprint or token, which may be electronically scanned.

The password may be a PIN number.

The internet business management provider may compare the card

details and password (and possibly also the fingerprint details)

submitted by the client with the security details already stored. If these details are a satisfactory match, then the client may be permitted to

select a business transaction.

The internet business management provider may request the client to

provide an order number before the transaction is processed. The

client may select the product and/or service required, and may also

select a desired quantity thereof. The client may further be prompted

to confirm the order. This information, together with the price of the product and/or service may then be stored by the internet business management provider. This order information may be cross-referenced with the stored

information relating to the client. If the value of the order exceeds the purchase limit of the client, then the order may be declined.

The internet business management provider may arrange for an

account of the client to be debited, and may further request

authorisation from a banking institution. If all the security procedures have been satisfied, and payment of the order has been approved,

then the order may be approved by the internet business management

provider.

On approval of the order, the internet business management provider may access the computer or computer network of the business provider in order to supply the business provider with the completed

transaction details in order that the business provider may supply the

client with the ordered product(s) and/or service(s), and also so that the

records of the business provider may be updated, such as entries in

the sales book, debtor book and inventory lists.

The internet business management provider may generate a delivery

note and/or invoice. The internet business management provider may

further generate an order reference number, which may be electronically delivered to the client. According to a second embodiment of the invention, there is provided a set of instructions for a central processing unit (CPU) which includes instructions for carrying out a method of conducting business over the internet substantially as described above.

The instructions may be in a computer-readable format.

According to a third embodiment of the invention there is provided a computer programmed to carry out the method of conducting business over the internet substantially as described above.

According to a fourth embodiment of the invention there is provided: at least two computers in electronic communication, the computers being programmed to carry out the method of conducting business over the internet substantially as described above; an electronic card reader; and optionally an electronic fingerprint reader.

According to a fifth embodiment of the invention there is provided a computer program product.

Detailed description of the invention

The invention will now be described further by way of specific example.

The method includes at least one computer program which has

instructions for conducting business over the internet. The computer

program is divided into eight co-operating modules, which may be installed independently of one another and at least one of the modules

is installed on a first computer or computer server remote from a

second computer or computer server onto which the remaining

modules are installed. Each module performs different functions, which

will be described in further detail below.

The first module (module one) is intended to be loaded onto a web site

and computer server of a business provider. The module links the

business provider's web site to a server of an internet business

management provider (IBMP), and is accessed when a client of the

business provider attempts to perform a business transaction, typically in order to purchase a product and/or service, using the web site of the

business provider.

Module one also contains computer instructions for linking the IBMP to

the business provider's computer network in order to update sales

books, debtors' books, inventories, bank accounts for credit card

transactions and the like. Module two is stored on the computer server of either the IBMP or the business provider's computer network. The module stores information pertaining to the respective business provider. Typically, the information includes the business provider's name, physical and postal address, telephone and fax numbers, E-mail address, a contact name, bank details, and debit order authorisation.

The information also includes the number of internet business authorisation tokens, typically cards, issued to the business provider, a number and password of each authorisation card, terms and conditions, the type of business, the number of employees, and the number of internet business licenses granted for using the program according to the invention.

Other details relating to the business provider may also be included in

module two.

The third module (module three) includes a database containing details

of internet clients of the business provider, and is installed on the

server of the IBMP. The information stored in the database of module two includes terms and conditions of business transactions between the client and the business provider, the client's name, names of persons authorised by the client to conduct internet business transactions with the business provider and the number on the authorisation card given to each person the cardholder's name, account number to be debited, credit/debit card number, the client's purchase limit and purchasing method (for example account, credit card or debit card).

The particular product price list for the client is also stored in module three, with the pricing per product/service. Further information which may be stored is a limitation of the products which are available to that client.

Module four stores on the IBMP server information related to the product portfolio of the business provider. For example, a stock code, product name, short product description, and a price including and excluding VAT will be listed for each product or service offered by the business provider.

Module five stores on the IBMP server all the product and/or service selections made by the client, and also lists the unit price paid per item

ordered. The sixth module (module six) processes the client's order on the IBMP server.

Module seven processes payment of the order on the IBMP server, and after the order has been accepted, links to the computer server of the business provider to provide the business provider with details regarding the order.

Module eight confirms the order with the client.

In use, the computer servers of the IBMP and business provider are in electronic communication, and modules one to eight are installed on these servers. Additionally, the web site of the business provider is also electronically linked to the IBMP server. A client of the business provider who is authorised to order a product over the internet is issued with an authorisation card which has an identification number, either printed thereon or encoded on a magnetic strip. The client may also be issued with a magnetic card reader if the card contains a magnetic strip, and/or an electronic fingerprint reader.

When the client accesses the web site of the business provider in order

to place an order, the first module will request the client to enter the

card number and/or swipe the card through the card reader and/or

place a thumb on the fingerprint reader. The module will further

request the client to enter a secret password or PIN. Module one will

then link to the IBMP server, where the second module will verify the

card and/or fingerprint details and password. If the above details match the details stored in module two, then the client will be allowed to proceed with placing the order. The client will be requested to enter an order number before selecting the required

product(s) and/or service(s) (module four). After selecting the

product(s) and/or service(s), module five will list whatever has been

ordered and the price thereof, and request the client to confirm the

order.

Upon confirmation of the order by the client, module six cross

references the order details with information stored in the client's database. In particular, the order value is compared to the client's

order limit, and if this is exceeded then the order will be declined,

thereby providing an additional security feature to both the client and the business provider. The method of payment is selected according to

the information stored in the database, which includes the account number to be debited. For credit/debit transactions, the card number is

retrieved and the relevant institution's merchant payment system is activated in order to have the transaction approved.

The purchase order will then either be declined or approved (module

seven). If the order is approved, module eight accesses the business

provider's server and places the relevant entries in the sale book and

debtor book, and makes adjustments to the inventory levels. A delivery

note and invoice is also generated. Once the order has been properly

processed, an order reference number is generated which is returned to the client's terminal. The business provider then only has to arrange for the products and/or services to be delivered to the client.

The invention is not limited to the precise constructional details as hereinbefore described and illustrated.

The applicant believes that the invention is advantageous in that it provides a method of conducting business over the internet which has a number of security features to protect both a business provider and a client, and it also reduces considerably the administration required on the part of the business provider.

Patent Citations
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WO1999049404A1 *22 Mar 199930 Sep 1999Telcordia Technologies, Inc.A method for using a telephone calling card for business transactions
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
EP1276066A2 *9 Jul 200215 Jan 2003Systemneeds Inc.Licensing method and license providing system
EP1276066A3 *9 Jul 200226 Nov 2003Systemneeds Inc.Licensing method and license providing system
Classifications
International ClassificationG06Q20/00, G06Q30/00, G07F7/10
Cooperative ClassificationG07F7/1066, G06Q20/26, G06Q20/04, G06Q20/02, G07F7/10, G06Q20/12, G06Q30/06
European ClassificationG06Q20/26, G06Q20/02, G06Q20/12, G06Q20/04, G06Q30/06, G07F7/10P6B, G07F7/10
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