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United States Patent [w]
McGurl et al.
US005893080A [ii] Patent Number:  Date of Patent:
 DISBURSEMENT SYSTEM AND METHOD
 Inventors: Daniel M. McGurl, York; Margaret O'Toole, North Berwick, both of Me.; Helmar Herman, Lee; James L. Loomis, Durham, both of N.H.
 Assignee: Bottomline Technologies, Inc.,
[ * ] Notice: This patent issued on a continued prosecution application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), and is subject to the twenty year patent term provisions of 35 U.S.C. 154(a)(2).
 Appl. No.: 506,579
 Filed: Jul. 25, 1995
 Int. C I. G06F 17/60
 U.S. CI 705/40; 235/379; 340/825.3;
340/825.35; 705/35; 705/39
 Field of Search 395/230, 233,
395/234, 240; 705/30, 34, 33, 40, 410, 1, 35, 39; 221/9; 235/375, 379, 381; 340/825.3,
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,385,285 5/1983 Horst et al 382/119
4,484,307 11/1984 Quatse et al 705/410
5,121,945 6/1992 Thomson et al 283/58
5,193,055 3/1993 Brown et al 705/33
5,283,829 2/1994 Anderson 380/24
5,383,113 1/1995 Kight et al 395/240
5,394,469 2/1995 Nagel et al 380/4
5,465,206 11/1995 Hilt et al 395/240
5,504,677 4/1996 Pollin 705/45
5,570,465 10/1996 Tsakanikas 395/114
5,727,249 3/1998 Pollin 705/40
5,745,886 4/1998 Rosen 705/39
5,793,028 8/1998 Wagener et al 235/380
5,799,087 8/1998 Rosen 380/24
Primary Examiner—Edward R. Cosimano
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Hayes, Soloway, Hennessey,
Grossman & Hage, PC.
A computerized payment disbursement system and method are provided. One embodiment of the method of the present invention includes storing in a computer database userdefined payment disbursement criteria associated with a plurality of types of disbursement transactions. At least one payment disbursement request corresponding to one of the plurality of types is received. At least one payment disbursement is generated based upon the criteria and the request by automatically determining which of the plurality of types corresponds to the request and automatically selecting from the storage means the disbursement criteria associated with that disbursement type.
25 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
DISBURSEMENT SYSTEM AND METHOD
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to a computerized disbursement system and method, and more specifically, to a computerized system and method for automatically effectuating at least one payment disbursement based upon user-defined disbursement criteria stored in a database and at least one disbursement request.
2. Brief Description of Related Prior Art Computerized financial data processing and accounting
systems are well known in the art. Typically, such systems permit the user to effectuate disbursements by e.g., printing checks and making payments via electronic funds transfers (EFT), monitor and balance bank accounts, and/or perform automated auditing and billing functions.
One prior art financial data processing system is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,121,945 to Thompson et al. The system disclosed in this patent automatically debits or credits multiple bank account records and accounts receivable records based upon customer payments. The system prepares integrated documents including an invoice and a check using a laser printer. Issuance of the document is based upon database tables with information including customer name and address, financial institution and account number, payee name and address, billing amount, accounts receivable account number, etc. Such data may be input manually or from other databases. The document is sent to the customer being invoiced, who fills out various sections of the front portion of the check, signs it, and returns it to the invoicer for cashing. The system also permits payment by EFT rather than check, via e.g., credit card, automated clearing house, automatic teller machine, etc. Access to database information may be protected by requiring entry of a password and/or security code information. The system also generates various accounting reports based upon the customer database information.
Another such system is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,385, 285 to Horst et al. The patent discloses a check dispensing system for issuing checks from a terminal. The system includes an identification card reader for identifying an account number from which to draw funds for the check and a handwriting transducer from inputting identification data to determine whether the user is authorized to issue checks from the account number. The system also includes a keypad for inputting the desired amount of the check and bank data system for evaluating the current balance of the account and whether there are sufficient funds to issue the check for the amount requested. The system evaluates whether the signature provided via the transducer matches with an authorized signature on file and/or requests other authentication data, e.g., palm print, identification number, etc. If the system accepts the user's request to issue the check, the user then is prompted to input a payee code number to identify to whom the check is to be made payable. A printer prints the check.
Another prior art financial data processing system is provided by Intuit Corporation's QUICKEN 5TM financial management computer program. The QUICKEN 5TM program tracks user checking, savings, credit card, investment, and loan accounts. It also performs basic budgeting, financial planning, and audit report generating functions. It also includes check disbursement (from pre-printed check stock) and electronic bill paying functions.
Yet another prior art financial data processing system is provided by Bottomline Technologies, Inc., the assignee of
the subject application, by the company's LASERCHECK® computer program. The company's LASERCHECK® computer program comprises a standalone check writing system which permits a user to produce a completed check on blank
5 paper using MICR information. The company's LASERCHECK® computer program also performs basic accounting report generating functions and security while eliminating typing or handwritten checks.
Unfortunately, none of the aforesaid prior art permits fully
1° automated payment disbursement according to userpredefined criteria, such as, disbursement financial account (e.g., bank or investment account number and type of account) and manner of payment (e.g., whether disbursement is to be made by hard-copy magnetic Ink Character
15 Recognizable (MICR) negotiable instrument or by EFT) for different types of disbursements to be made (e.g., payments to suppliers, rebates, taxes, etc.), and individual disbursement requests (e.g., including such information as disbursement amount, intended payee, etc.). Additionally, none of
20 the aforesaid prior art provides fully automated diagnostic means for monitoring whether the system is functioning properly and for preventing improper disbursements from taking place.
Other examples of prior art financial data processing 25 systems and methods are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,283, 829 to Anderson and U.S. Pat. No. 5,193,055 to Brown. These systems and methods also suffer from the aforesaid and/or other disadvantages of the aforesaid prior art.
30 OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore a general object of the present invention to overcome the aforesaid and other disadvantages of the prior art. More specifically, it is an object of the present invention
35 to provide a computerized payment disbursement system and method wherein disbursements are made according to user-predefined criteria and user-supplied disbursement requests. It is also an object of the present invention to provide such a system and method wherein improper dis
4Q bursements are prevented from occurring prior to their being made.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, the present invention provides a computer45 ized payment disbursement system and method that overcome the aforesaid and other disadvantages of the prior art. In broad concept, the system of the present invention essentially comprises computer database storage means for storing user-predefined payment disbursement criteria for a 5q plurality of types of disbursement transactions. The system also includes means for receiving at least one disbursement request corresponding to one of the plurality of disbursement types. Additionally, means are provided for automatically generating a payment disbursement based upon the 55 criteria and request. The generating means including means for automatically selecting from the storage means criteria corresponding to the disbursement type of the disbursement request.
One embodiment of the system of the present invention 60 includes means for monitoring whether the system is functioning properly and for preventing improper disbursements from being effectuated.
One embodiment of the method of the present invention includes storing in a computer database user-defined pay65 ment disbursement criteria associated with a plurality of types of disbursement transactions. At least one payment disbursement request corresponding to one of the plurality