Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20080243562 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/929,277
Publication dateOct 2, 2008
Filing dateOct 30, 2007
Priority dateAug 18, 2000
Also published asUS7275038, US20070260496, US20070271124, US20070271125, US20080243563, US20080249814
Publication number11929277, 929277, US 2008/0243562 A1, US 2008/243562 A1, US 20080243562 A1, US 20080243562A1, US 2008243562 A1, US 2008243562A1, US-A1-20080243562, US-A1-2008243562, US2008/0243562A1, US2008/243562A1, US20080243562 A1, US20080243562A1, US2008243562 A1, US2008243562A1
InventorsTimothy Robert Weinstock, Kimberly Ann DeVallance, Randall Allan Haselhorst, Craig Stephen Kennedy, David Gary Smith
Original AssigneeThe Crawford Group, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Web Enabled Business to Business Computer System for Rental Car Services Having a Bidirectional Communication Link with a Repair Facility - 3
US 20080243562 A1
An Internet enabled, business-to-business computerized transaction system is disclosed in its preferred embodiment for use in providing rental car services for high volume users and comprises an Internet web portal through which the high volume user may access an integrated business computer network for the rental vehicle service provider. The rental vehicle services provider computer network is configured to interconnect a geographically diverse plurality of branch offices, cataloguing their available rental vehicles and schedules for same as well as handling all transactional data relating to its business. The Internet web portal provides ubiquitous connectivity and portability for a multi-level business organization who regularly places high volumes of rental purchases with its business partner. Utilizing the method and apparatus of the present invention large volumes of rental transactions may be placed, monitored, altered during performance, and closed out with financial accounting and payment being made virtually without human intervention.
Previous page
Next page
1-46. (canceled)
47. A rental vehicle reservation management computer system for creating and managing a rental vehicle reservation, the computer system being configured to:
(1) provide a plurality of graphical user interface (GUI) screens for display over the Internet on a computer,
(2) accept input from the computer over the Internet and through the provided GUI screens,
(3) create and manage a plurality of rental vehicle reservations in response to the accepted input, wherein the rental vehicle reservation corresponds to a replacement vehicle for a vehicle undergoing repair at a repair facility,
(4) accept vehicle repair information over a bidirectional communication link with the repair facility, the vehicle repair information corresponding to the vehicle undergoing repair, and
(5) provide the computer with access to the accepted vehicle repair information.
48-181. (canceled)
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/881,216, entitled “Web Enabled Business to Business Computer System for Rental Car Services”, filed Jul. 26, 2007, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,820, entitled “Web Enabled Business to Business Operating System for Rental Car Services” filed Aug. 18, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,275,038, the entire disclosures of both of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0002]
    This invention relates generally to the field of an Internet enabled business-to-business intelligent communication link allowing a first business organization to have intelligent interaction with a second fully integrated business organization to facilitate the placing of orders or reservations for business services or goods, with the services or goods provider having a computer network linking multiple levels of its organization to provide for the smooth conduct of business between the two organizations. More particularly, this field relates to an Internet enabled automatic rental vehicle transaction system to facilitate the conduct of rental vehicle transactions between two multilevel business organizations, one of which provides such rental vehicle transaction services in an integrated manner through business enterprise software to a high volume user of such rental vehicle services wherein an Internet web portal is defined by the rental vehicle service provider which interconnects the two business organizations at multiple levels, providing a graphical user interface (GUI)for the transaction of large amounts of rental vehicle services automatically and virtually without human intervention upon entry.
  • [0003]
    Computer technology has been embraced by many businesses in order to handle their ever increasing order flow as well as to mitigate the increasing blizzard of paper required to be produced to document this business. A significant benefit which often drives the implementation of technology is its further advantage in increasing productivity to thereby allow fewer people to handle greater volumes of business. One such good example demonstrating the efficiencies and value to be gained by implementing technology is the business model developed and followed by the assignee of the present invention. A rental car company at its heart, the assignee transacts an ever increasing number of time sensitive, relatively low dollar volume, vehicle rentals which in many instances require authorizations to be made in advance, reservations of vehicles from available geographic and vehicle type selections, monitoring of the rental as it progresses including possibly extending the rental under certain circumstances, communications between the various parties involved in the transaction to ensure ultimate customer satisfaction, and financial accounting for the transaction including generating invoices and processing them for payment. While a significant portion of the vehicle rental business involves rental for leisure, business travel, etc., another significant business relationship has developed with insurance companies and the like in what has been termed as the replacement car rental service business. In this business, a vehicle insurance company may have many thousands of policyholders who are eligible to be involved in accidents, and other dislocations of use, requiring that a vehicle be rented for that customer's use while his own vehicle be made ready again for use. Thus, for this business segment, a multi-tiered business organization such as a vehicle insurance company represents a significant customer for repetitive vehicle rental services. To conduct this business in an orderly, time efficient and cost efficient manner, it is necessary that this insurance company has as its business partner a vehicle rental company which is itself multi-tiered, such as the assignee of the present invention. This is because the needs, both geographically and in volume, are significant which require the dedication of a significant amount of resources. To satisfy these needs and to respond to other business growth, in its embrace of technology the assignee hereof has succeeded in developing an in-house computer system and related software which has integrated its business internally. This business integration has been massive and company-wide as is needed to integrate a company having a central office with literally thousands of individual branches located nationally, and even now internationally, with hundreds of thousands of vehicles available for rental. Furthermore, other business partners including other service providers such as vehicle repair shops have also been given access to this system to allow for input of information relating to progress of vehicle repair, extension of rental time, etc. as the rental progresses. This integrated business computer network and software generally includes a mainframe server at the heart of a wide area network (WAN) which facilitates the transfer of vehicle rental information and orders company-wide. This integrated business model is most efficient and needed in order to satisfy the vehicle rental service needs of a vehicle insurance company which itself may be national or even international in scope.
  • [0004]
    As a first step in extending the integration of technology into this business model, the present assignee has previously developed and implemented a computer system which has provided improved communication capabilities between the two business partners. This system generally comprised a second mainframe computer linked to the first mainframe of the integrated business network, with dedicated access lines being provided from this second mainframe to various levels of the multilevel business organization comprising the insurance company. In effect, with this additional mainframe and dedicated pipeline access, various individuals at the insurance company were permitted to directly interact with the integrated business computer network of the vehicle rental company as well as other selected service providers such as body shops where wrecked vehicles were being repaired. The implementation of this system provided a great step forward over the people intensive business activity previously required in order to handle the large number of transactions encountered in this business relationship. Historically, the replacement car market engendered large numbers of telephone calls being placed between the insurance company, the rental company, and the body shop where vehicle repair was being performed in order to authorize the rental, select and secure the desired replacement vehicle to be provided, monitor the progress of the repair work so that scheduling of the rental vehicle could be controlled, extending the vehicle rental in the event of delays in repair, authorizing various activities involved in the rental process including upgrades of vehicles or other charges for services, and subsequent billing of the rental service and processing the billing to the insurance company for payment.
  • [0005]
    While the implementation of this system was successful and represented a tremendous step forward in automating the business relationship between the insurance company and the vehicle rental company, it did have certain limitations. For example, a specific communication link had to be established between the rental vehicle company and the particular users at the insurance company designated to have access to this system. Thus, special attention and some modicum of expense was required to establish these “pipelines” and maintain them. Still another aspect to the system implemented was that it was not “browser” based nor did it provide graphical user interface (GUI) menus. Thus, each user had to be specifically trained in the particular “language” used by the system and learn to work with specific menus nested in a specific manner as well as codes for entering commands which were not similar to other computer software programs. This software design thus necessarily required additional training in order to insure that users could gain the full measure of advantage provided by the system and in order to minimize the opportunity for erroneous information or incorrect reservations from being entered or otherwise confusing the business transactions. Furthermore, user efficiency was not immediate and required skill beyond that ordinarily found in casual computer users, as we are all becoming in this computer age. Still another disadvantage to the system was that access was required to a designated entry point in the system in order for a person authorized to be on the system to work with it. As the nature of the insurance and replacement car business requires extreme mobility at multiple levels of both business partners, this represents a limitation to the usefulness and time efficiency with which various business functions could be performed. Therefore, while implementation of the second mainframe allowing for pipeline connections at various levels of the multi-tiered insurance company was a significant step forward in automating the business relationship between the two business partners, significant limitations to this solution were readily apparent to the users thereof.
  • [0006]
    The inventors herein have succeeded in designing and developing a means for substantially enhancing the business to business communication link between these two businesses which provide significant advantages over its prior embodiment. More particularly, the inventors have succeeded in replacing the dedicated pipeline access of the existing system with a web portal allowing Internet access to the mainframe with a browser based graphical user interface (GUI) presentation. This also made the system more readily accessible to smaller business partners as the expense of the “pipeline” was eliminated. This invention offers several important technical advantages over the previous system. First of all, by taking advantage of the ubiquitous nature of the Internet, the ultimate in portability and connectivity for this system is now provided in a business environment where mobility and connectivity are at a premium. In other words, a claims adjuster, body shop, or any other business employee authorized to have access to the system may gain access at any site offering Internet access. In present day technology that includes many mobile devices and appliances which are Internet enabled. As technology advances, it is conceivable that this access will extend to permit “24/7” access by any authorized person at any geographic location. This is a marked improvement providing immediate benefit and advantage over the dedicated pipeline access of the prior art system.
  • [0007]
    A second major advantage of the present invention is its graphical user interface. The inventors have taken full advantage of this browser based GUI to streamline and organize the presentation of information to a user to actually guide him as he interacts in doing his business. One such example is customized design of the menus such that the user is guided and directed to answer only those questions required to be answered in order to conduct the particular transaction being addressed, and further to present choices to the user for his selection to minimize the need for the user to rely on his own memory or to be familiar with complicated and specialized codes to enter data or request transaction activity. With the recent and continuing explosion of the Internet, more people are becoming familiar with browser programs and their operation through their own daily activities in their personal lives. This familiarity paves the way for easier training and quicker orientation of a new user to the present invention. For large business organizations communicating at multiple levels, this significant advantage cannot be minimized as there are large numbers of people who must be continuously trained due to the growth of the organizations, as well as the inevitable attrition. Thus, the present invention provides an immediate increase in worker productivity, and makes that improved efficiency available to many more workers who are not particularly skilled otherwise in computer usage.
  • [0008]
    Still another advantage provided by the present invention is through the implementation of additional functionalities which are engendered by the browser/GUI interface. As the system is continuously used, and feedback is continuously monitored and analyzed, additional features that add value through providing management information as well as by speeding transaction activity over the system may be implemented. For example, several of these features include the ability of a user to create an on demand report for transaction activity including summaries of transactions handled by a particular user or group of users which might either be open or closed. Another example of additional functionality which improves the efficiency of a user is the ability to create a repair facility call back list which allows a user to sort existing open vehicle rental reservations by repair facility (body shop) and date such that a user is presented with the list of open reservations at a particular repair facility which can be readily handled in a single telephone call while at the same time having the system on line to implement any needed changes such as extensions of reservations, etc. Additional functionality has also been provided to speed the processing of invoicing which of course also speeds their payment and cash receipts. For example, it was found that even despite the built-in error checking and correction facilities provided to the users of the system, a repetitive pattern of mistakes involving incorrect claim numbers was discovered. To speed the processing of these, an additional functionality was provided as an “electronic audit” known as invoice return which returns an invoice to a particular adjuster upon detection of an incorrect claim number for his human intervention and correction of the claim number. In this manner, problem invoices exhibiting one of the most common problems encountered may be readily handled within the system and in an efficient manner, instead of manually as before.
  • [0009]
    The present invention also has as a significant advantage the ability to be further customized to meet the individual business partners' needs and desires as well as to provide additional functionality by offering additional features which become desirable upon accumulation of user data based on user experience. Furthermore, once implemented, they are immediately available system wide.
  • [0010]
    Still another advantage of the present invention is that the graphical user interface incorporates point and click interaction, using buttons and tabs to present or conceal data for the user's attention or inattention as the case may be, and provide a much more robust interaction capability through the creation of menu designs that allow for access to the most commonly needed features from any point in the menu architecture. This is to be contrasted with the prior system which consisted of a main frame character based interface while the present invention with its GUI interface allows a user to point and click to navigate and to make selections by pull down selection, thereby reducing errors. As users become more experienced with the system, and their confidence level grows, they are much more likely to become bored and aggravated with the rigid structure of the prior system requiring them to follow along a certain menu architecture in order to complete certain tasks. On the other hand, the present invention generally increases the interest of the user in using the system. These advantages of the present invention over the prior interface promote employee productivity by allowing a user more control over his work which is critical in achieving savings in human resources to operate the system which is one of its main goals.
  • [0011]
    While the principal advantages and features of the invention have been discussed above, a greater understanding of the invention including a fuller description of its other advantages and features may be attained by referring to the drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment which follow.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of the computer systems comprising the invention; and
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2 is a flow chart of the software programs which communicate over the computer systems of FIG. 1 to implement the invention.
  • [0014]
    The overall system architecture for the present invention 20 is best shown in FIG. 1. As shown therein, an insurance company computer system 22, which itself may be virtually any computer configuration or even a stand alone PC accesses the Internet 24 through any convenient access point 26 such as even including an ISP (Internet service provider), as known in the art. Also connected to the Internet 24 is a web portal 28 which is preferably provided by a server appropriately programmed as explained herein below. This web portal 28 may be appropriate configured as desired to suit any particular business relationship or arrangement, although preferably the inventors herein and assignee of this invention have determined that a 24/7 or full time connection to the Internet 24 is preferable, except for scheduled downtimes for maintenance, etc. The service provider 30 which for purposes of explaining the present preferred embodiment is preferably a vehicle rental organization, has itself an Internet portal mainframe 32 connected by a bi-directional communication link 34 to a second computer network 36 which may itself preferably have a mainframe server 38. This second computer system 36 is preferably a network having a database 40 for communication with what may be thousands of branch offices each of which has its own computer interface 44 which communicates to this second mainframe server 38 to conduct the integrated business functions of a service provider organization. Instead of communicating with the branch offices directly, a reservation may be communicated to a centralized location for further processing, such as a call center, and then relayed on to an appropriate branch office. This might be desirable under certain circumstances, such as if a branch office is closed, or when a purchaser requires some specialized service such as close monitoring of the rental. This may be done electronically and automatically, or with human intervention.
  • [0015]
    It should be noted that the particular computer configuration chosen as the preferred embodiment herein may itself be subject to wide variation. Furthermore, the term “mainframe” as used herein refers solely to a computer which can provide large scale processing of large numbers of transactions in a timely enough manner to suit the particular business application. Preferably, as is presently used by the assignee hereof, an IBM AS/400 mainframe computer is used as each of computers 32, 38. However, as is well known in the art, computer technology is subject to rapid change and it is difficult if not impossible to predict how these computer systems may evolve as technology advances in this art. For example, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that in the not so distant future a network of computers would provide the processing power to conduct these business operations as presently handled by “mainframe” computers. Thus, the term “mainframe” is not used in a limiting sense but merely to indicate that it is descriptive of a computer suited to handle the processing needs for a large scale business application.
  • [0016]
    It should also be noted that the communication link 46 extending between the server 42 and each of the branch offices 44 may have alternative configurations. For example, in some applications access over the Internet may itself be adequate, recognizing the vagaries of Internet service availability, reliability, and processing speed. Alternatively, this communication link 46 could well be a dedicated pipeline providing broadband service connection full time with back up connections to ensure continuous communication between a particular branch office or groups of branch offices and the service providers business operations computer system 36. Some branch offices might even be served through satellite links. Indeed, it is even possible that a mixture of these wide variations of service level be present within a single organization's structure depending upon communication link cost and availability balanced against service needs. It should merely be noted for present purposes that this communication link 46 serves as the electronic umbilical cord through which branch offices 44 communicate with the business computer system 36 of the present invention.
  • [0017]
    Attached hereto as exhibits are functional descriptions of the software program's resident on the computers comprising the two computer systems 32, 38 which implement the present invention. More particularly, attached hereto as Exhibit A is a functional description of the software to implement the integrated business functions resident on the AS/400 or mainframe computer 38. Attached hereto as Exhibits B and C are related flow diagrams and explanatory text, respectively, for the software resident on the mainframe AS/400 computer 32. Attached hereto as Exhibit D is a functional description of the software resident on computer 32 but which also appears on the server 28 which creates the web portal for access to the mainframe 32 and its resident program. Server 28 may use a bi-directional GUI to character based interface translator program, well known to those skilled in the art, to present the displays and information obtained and transmitted between the user and the computer 32. However, the software of Exhibit D could also be run on server 28, as would be appreciated by those of skill in the art. It is believed that these functional descriptions and accompanying text as exemplified in these exhibits are adequate to enable an ordinary programmer to implement corresponding software programs for executing the preferred embodiment of the present invention using ordinary programming skills and without inventive effort.
  • [0018]
    As a further example of the flow of data and the functional advantages provided by the present invention, reference is made to FIG. 2. As shown therein, a right hand column is identified as “ECARS” which represents the integrated business software implemented as part of the mainframe operation 38 in computer network 36. The center column headed “ARMS” is resident on mainframe computer 32 and coordinates the communication of data. The left column headed “ARMS/WEB” represents the software resident on computer but which is presented on server 28 and accessible by users through the Internet. Along the left side of FIG. 2 are designated three separate sections of operational activity. These are “reservation” followed by “open” and concluded by “close”. Generally, the functional descriptions are arranged in chronological order proceeding from the top of FIG. 2 to the bottom. However, some functional features are permitted throughout the entirety of one of the three periods designated at the left side of FIG. 2. One such example is the “message” function which allows messages to be sent between users at one business organization 22 and branch offices 44 and others connected to the other business organization 30. Proceeding with a description of the transaction, the first set of communications allow for the reservation of the services. These can include requests for authorization or a rescind authorization request to be sent from the service provider to the service purchaser. Correspondingly, authorizations and authorization cancels can be sent from the services purchaser to the services provider. Confirmations are communicated upon confirmation of an authorized reservation request. Authorization changes may be made and communicated from the services purchaser to the service provider. Corresponding rental transaction changes may be communicated from the services provider to the services purchaser. As indicated, through the entirety of this process messages may be sent between users and others connected or having access to the integrated business software, as desired. The consummation of this portion of the transaction is a reservation that has been placed, authorized, confirmed, and provision is made for changes as necessary. During the next phase of the transaction, a reservation is opened and services intended to be provided are started. Generally, and preferably for the rental of vehicles, a start and end date are established in the reservation process. However, along the way, transactional changes may be made, such as for changing the type of vehicle provided, extensions may be requested and entered from either business partner, messages may be transmitted between the business partners, and the transaction may be terminated such as by voiding the contract by one business partner or terminating the authority by the other business partner. The term “reservation” has been used herein to refer not only to the act of placing the order but also to filling the order for services including providing the rental vehicle to the ultimate user and even invoicing for those services.
  • [0019]
    The last phase of the process involves closing the transaction. During this phase of the transaction, the contract is indicated as being closed and invoiced, the services purchaser can approve invoices, reject invoices, and also remit invoices. Such invoice remittance may also include the actual transfer of funds through an electronic funds transfer medium, or otherwise as previously arranged between the business partners.
  • [0020]
    It should be understood that this is a streamlined description of the handling of a transaction, and by no means is exhaustive. For example, much more functionality is available to the user including accessing the data base to generate production reports regarding status of open or closed reservations, preparing action item lists to allow a user to organize and prioritize his work, obtaining information available in the system from having been entered by others which would otherwise require phone conversations which are inefficient and occupy still another person's time. A more detailed explanation of the functionality provided is found in the exhibits.
  • [0021]
    In summary, the present invention creates almost an illusion that the services purchaser, and the great number of users at various levels of the multi-tier purchaser users, are actually part of the services provider organization in that immediate online access is provided to significant data which enable the user to make reservations for services, monitor those services as they are being provided, communicate with those providing the services, obtain information relating to the status of services as they are being provided, and close transactions, all by interacting with the services provider business organization over that user's PC and without human interaction required by the business providers personnel. By way of contra-distinction, for many years business has been conducted on a human level by customers picking up the telephone and calling services providers and talking to their human counterparts in order to convey information, place orders, monitor orders, including obtaining information as to status, canceling orders, questioning invoices and paying invoices, along with a myriad of other related interactions. Not only did the conduct of business in this manner entail significant amounts of human resources at both ends of the transaction, but it also led to inefficiencies, mistakes and delays all of which increase the cost of doing business and contribute to an increased risk of services being rendered in an unsatisfactory manner in many instances to the end user. The present invention has taken the preexisting solution of providing electronic communication between the business partners to another level by “web enabling” this system for improved connectivity, improved usability, reduced training, enhanced mobility, and other advantages as described herein.
  • [0022]
    Various changes and modifications to the preferred embodiment as explained herein would be envisioned by those of skill in the art. Examples of these changes and modifications include the utilization of computer systems configured in any one of a myriad of ways using present technology alone. For example, mobile computers are presently available and wireless technology could be used to extend the integrated business network of the services provider, as well as match the mobility needed by the various users connected to and using the present invention. The particular software, and various aspects and features of its design, have been adapted for particular application to the vehicle rental business. Of course, computer software applications satisfying other business needs would necessarily require adaptation to their particular business models. Thus, it is envisioned by the inventors herein that the various software programs described herein would be matched to the particular business application to which the invention is utilized. These and other aspects of the preferred embodiment should not be viewed as limiting and instead be considered merely as illustrative of an example of the practical implementation of the present invention. These changes and modifications should be considered as part of the invention and the invention should be considered as limited only by the scope of the claims appended hereto and their legal equivalents.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3665397 *Jun 8, 1970May 23, 1972Minicars IncAutomobile rental system
US4714989 *Oct 20, 1986Dec 22, 1987Billings Roger EFuntionally structured distributed data processing system
US4757267 *Jun 17, 1987Jul 12, 1988Applied Telematics, Inc.Telephone system for connecting a customer to a supplier of goods
US4774663 *Nov 21, 1983Sep 27, 1988Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith IncorporatedSecurities brokerage-cash management system with short term investment proceeds allotted among multiple accounts
US4788643 *Aug 27, 1985Nov 29, 1988Trippe Kenneth A BCruise information and booking data processing system
US4797818 *Mar 26, 1987Jan 10, 1989Jeno F. PaulucciFood order/delivery system
US4799156 *Oct 1, 1986Jan 17, 1989Strategic Processing CorporationInteractive market management system
US4831526 *Apr 22, 1986May 16, 1989The Chubb CorporationComputerized insurance premium quote request and policy issuance system
US4858121 *Dec 12, 1986Aug 15, 1989Medical Payment Systems, IncorporatedMedical payment system
US4891785 *Jul 8, 1988Jan 2, 1990Donohoo Theodore JMethod for transferring data files between computers in a network response to generalized application program instructions
US4897867 *Mar 15, 1988Jan 30, 1990American Telephone And Telegraph Company, At&T Bell LaboratoriesMethod of and an arrangement for forwarding a customer order
US4899292 *Mar 2, 1988Feb 6, 1990Image Storage/Retrieval Systems, Inc.System for storing and retrieving text and associated graphics
US4916611 *Jun 30, 1987Apr 10, 1990Northern Group Services, Inc.Insurance administration system with means to allow an employer to directly communicate employee status data to centralized data storage means
US4931932 *Sep 28, 1987Jun 5, 1990Travelsoft, Inc.Computerized system with means to automatically clear and sell wait-listed customer reservations
US4951196 *May 4, 1988Aug 21, 1990Supply Tech, Inc.Method and apparatus for electronic data interchange
US4984155 *Aug 29, 1988Jan 8, 1991Square D CompanyOrder entry system having catalog assistance
US5058044 *Mar 30, 1989Oct 15, 1991Auto I.D. Inc.Automated maintenance checking system
US5063506 *Oct 23, 1989Nov 5, 1991International Business Machines Corp.Cost optimization system for supplying parts
US5210687 *Feb 15, 1991May 11, 1993L & C Family PartnershipBusiness transaction and investment growth monitoring data processing system
US5216592 *Apr 25, 1991Jun 1, 1993International Business Machines CorporationSystem and method for business process automation
US5218697 *Apr 18, 1990Jun 8, 1993Microsoft CorporationMethod and system for networking computers having varying file architectures
US5224034 *Dec 21, 1990Jun 29, 1993Bell Communications Research, Inc.Automated system for generating procurement lists
US5237499 *Nov 12, 1991Aug 17, 1993Garback Brent JComputer travel planning system
US5253165 *Dec 12, 1990Oct 12, 1993Eduardo LeisecaComputerized reservations and scheduling system
US5270922 *Jun 27, 1991Dec 14, 1993Merrill Lynch & Company, Inc.System for distributing, processing and displaying financial information
US5289369 *Feb 27, 1991Feb 22, 1994Israel HirshbergCar rent system
US5309355 *Sep 3, 1993May 3, 1994Lockwood Lawrence BAutomated sales system
US5311425 *Nov 28, 1990May 10, 1994Japan Airlines, Co., Ltd.Reservation system terminal
US5319542 *Sep 27, 1990Jun 7, 1994International Business Machines CorporationSystem for ordering items using an electronic catalogue
US5355474 *Sep 27, 1991Oct 11, 1994Thuraisngham Bhavani MSystem for multilevel secure database management using a knowledge base with release-based and other security constraints for query, response and update modification
US5361199 *Jul 31, 1990Nov 1, 1994Texas Instruments IncorporatedAutomated procurement system with multi-system data access
US5369570 *Nov 14, 1991Nov 29, 1994Parad; Harvey A.Method and system for continuous integrated resource management
US5375207 *Nov 22, 1991Dec 20, 1994Hewlett-Packard CompanyRemote processing of a plurality of commands during a session between a first computer and a host computer
US5390314 *Oct 9, 1992Feb 14, 1995American Airlines, Inc.Method and apparatus for developing scripts that access mainframe resources that can be executed on various computer systems having different interface languages without modification
US5396600 *Oct 15, 1992Mar 7, 1995International Computers LimitedApparatus and method for interfacing between processing computers in a computer system
US5406475 *Apr 30, 1993Apr 11, 1995Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.Data processing network having a plurality of independent subscribers
US5422809 *Aug 25, 1993Jun 6, 1995Touch Screen Media, Inc.Method and apparatus for providing travel destination information and making travel reservations
US5432904 *Nov 9, 1993Jul 11, 1995Ccc Information Services Inc.Auto repair estimate, text and graphic system
US5465206 *Nov 1, 1993Nov 7, 1995Visa InternationalElectronic bill pay system
US5471615 *Jun 22, 1994Nov 28, 1995International Business Machines CorporationDistributed data processing system having front-end and back-end computers with different operating systems
US5475585 *Feb 2, 1994Dec 12, 1995Bush; Thomas A.Transactional processing system
US5504674 *May 19, 1993Apr 2, 1996Ccc Information Services, Inc.Insurance claims estimate, text, and graphics network and method
US5506897 *Dec 28, 1994Apr 9, 1996Murex Securities, Ltd.Automatic routing system for telephonic services
US5515268 *Sep 9, 1993May 7, 1996Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki KaishaMethod of and system for ordering products
US5528490 *Apr 10, 1992Jun 18, 1996Charles E. Hill & Associates, Inc.Electronic catalog system and method
US5530844 *Feb 10, 1994Jun 25, 1996Honeywell Inc.Method of coupling open systems to a proprietary network
US5544040 *Aug 7, 1992Aug 6, 1996Gerbaulet; Jean-PierreSystem for management of common purchase operations for goods and services
US5544320 *Jun 7, 1995Aug 6, 1996Konrad; Allan M.Remote information service access system based on a client-server-service model
US5550734 *Dec 23, 1993Aug 27, 1996The Pharmacy Fund, Inc.Computerized healthcare accounts receivable purchasing collections securitization and management system
US5557515 *Mar 17, 1995Sep 17, 1996Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Inc.Computerized system and method for work management
US5557518 *Apr 28, 1994Sep 17, 1996Citibank, N.A.Trusted agents for open electronic commerce
US5570283 *Nov 18, 1994Oct 29, 1996Travelnet, Inc.Corporate travel controller
US5581461 *Aug 31, 1994Dec 3, 1996Itt Sheraton CorporationComputerized system and method for storage, processing and transfer of inventory and other data among a central processor/database and a number of remote locations
US5586312 *Oct 11, 1994Dec 17, 1996Unisys CorporationMethod and apparatus for using an independent transaction processing application as a service routine
US5586313 *Feb 12, 1993Dec 17, 1996L.I.D.P. Consulting Services, Inc.Method for updating a file
US5588048 *Mar 28, 1996Dec 24, 1996800 Adept, Inc.Geographically mapped telephone routing method and system
US5592375 *Mar 11, 1994Jan 7, 1997Eagleview, Inc.Computer-assisted system for interactively brokering goods or services between buyers and sellers
US5592378 *Aug 19, 1994Jan 7, 1997Andersen Consulting LlpComputerized order entry system and method
US5640505 *Sep 6, 1995Jun 17, 1997British Telecommunications Public Limited CompanyOperational support structure for a telecommunications network
US5644721 *Aug 30, 1995Jul 1, 1997System One Information Management, L.L.C.Multiple currency travel reservation information management system and method
US5664207 *Dec 16, 1994Sep 2, 1997Xcellenet, Inc.Systems and methods for automatically sharing information among remote/mobile nodes
US5666493 *Aug 24, 1993Sep 9, 1997Lykes Bros., Inc.System for managing customer orders and method of implementation
US5694551 *Apr 24, 1995Dec 2, 1997Moore Business Forms, Inc.Computer integration network for channeling customer orders through a centralized computer to various suppliers
US5696901 *May 24, 1996Dec 9, 1997Konrad; Allan M.Remote information service access system based on a client-server-service model
US5696965 *Nov 3, 1994Dec 9, 1997Intel CorporationElectronic information appraisal agent
US5710887 *Aug 29, 1995Jan 20, 1998BroadvisionComputer system and method for electronic commerce
US5710889 *Jun 7, 1995Jan 20, 1998Citibank, N.A.Interface device for electronically integrating global financial services
US5712989 *Apr 2, 1993Jan 27, 1998Fisher Scientific CompanyJust-in-time requisition and inventory management system
US5721832 *May 12, 1995Feb 24, 1998Regal Greetings & Gifts Inc.Method and apparatus for an interactive computerized catalog system
US5721913 *Jun 17, 1996Feb 24, 1998Lucent Technologies Inc.Integrated activity management system
US5724520 *Nov 21, 1994Mar 3, 1998Anthony V. PuglieseElectronic ticketing and reservation system and method
US5726885 *Aug 23, 1995Mar 10, 1998Daimler-Benz AgHire vehicle transportation system
US5732398 *Nov 9, 1995Mar 24, 1998Keyosk Corp.Self-service system for selling travel-related services or products
US5734823 *Jul 25, 1996Mar 31, 1998Microtome, Inc.Systems and apparatus for electronic communication and storage of information
US5754772 *Mar 26, 1996May 19, 1998Unisys CorporationTransaction service independent HTTP server-to-transaction gateway
US5754830 *Apr 1, 1996May 19, 1998Openconnect Systems, IncorporatedServer and web browser terminal emulator for persistent connection to a legacy host system and method of operation
US5757925 *Jul 23, 1996May 26, 1998Faybishenko; YaroslavSecure platform independent cross-platform remote execution computer system and method
US5758329 *Jun 7, 1995May 26, 1998Lykes Bros., Inc.System for managing customer orders and method of implementation
US5758341 *Jan 17, 1995May 26, 1998Anthem Healthcare Solutions, Inc.Automated transaction processing system and process with emulation of human error resolution
US5764981 *Jun 14, 1996Jun 9, 1998The Sabre Group, Inc.System for batch scheduling of travel-related transactions and batch tasks distribution by partitioning batch tasks among processing resources
US5768510 *Jul 1, 1996Jun 16, 1998Sun Microsystems, Inc.Object-oriented system, method and article of manufacture for a client-server application enabler system
US5768511 *Sep 18, 1995Jun 16, 1998International Business Machines CorporationMethod and system for managing objects in networked computer system with action performed in the server and object updated in the client
US5774873 *Mar 29, 1996Jun 30, 1998Adt Automotive, Inc.Electronic on-line motor vehicle auction and information system
US5778178 *Aug 5, 1996Jul 7, 1998Arunachalam; LakshmiMethod and apparatus for enabling real-time bi-directional transactions on a network
US5781892 *Nov 13, 1995Jul 14, 1998Electronic Data Systems CorporationMethod and apparatus for interacting with a computer reservation system
US5784565 *Feb 5, 1997Jul 21, 1998Lewine; Donald A.Server for either anonymous or pre-authorized users to order goods or services on the world-wide web computer network
US5793966 *Dec 1, 1995Aug 11, 1998Vermeer Technologies, Inc.Computer system and computer-implemented process for creation and maintenance of online services
US5794207 *Sep 4, 1996Aug 11, 1998Walker Asset Management Limited PartnershipMethod and apparatus for a cryptographically assisted commercial network system designed to facilitate buyer-driven conditional purchase offers
US5812067 *Sep 9, 1996Sep 22, 1998Volkswagen AgSystem for recognizing authorization to use a vehicle
US5950169 *Nov 9, 1995Sep 7, 1999Ccc Information Services, Inc.System and method for managing insurance claim processing
US6445309 *Dec 31, 1998Sep 3, 2002Walker Digital, LlcMethod and apparatus for distributing products to vehicle occupants
US6609050 *Jan 20, 2000Aug 19, 2003Daimlerchrysler CorporationVehicle warranty and repair computer-networked system
US6757698 *Dec 22, 2000Jun 29, 2004Iomega CorporationMethod and apparatus for automatically synchronizing data from a host computer to two or more backup data storage locations
US7275038 *Aug 18, 2000Sep 25, 2007The Crawford Group, Inc.Web enabled business to business operating system for rental car services
US20020010604 *Jun 6, 2001Jan 24, 2002David BlockAutomated internet based interactive travel planning and reservation system
US20030149600 *Apr 21, 2000Aug 7, 2003Eckert Seamans Cherin And Mellott LlcReservation entry method and system
US20120197672 *Aug 2, 2012The Crawford Group, Inc.System and Method for Improved Rental Vehicle Reservation Management
US20120203581 *Apr 16, 2012Aug 9, 2012The Crawford Group, Inc.System and Method for Improved Rental Vehicle Reservation Management
US20120203582 *Aug 9, 2012The Crawford Group, Inc.System and Method for Improved Rental Vehicle Reservation Management
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7899690Oct 20, 2000Mar 1, 2011The Crawford Group, Inc.Extended web enabled business to business computer system for rental vehicle services
US8160906May 11, 2007Apr 17, 2012The Crawford Group, Inc.System and method for improved rental vehicle reservation management
US8160907Jul 24, 2008Apr 17, 2012The Crawford Group, Inc.System and method for allocating replacement vehicle rental costs using a virtual bank of repair facility credits
US8340989Feb 11, 2011Dec 25, 2012The Crawford Group, Inc.Method and system for managing rental vehicle reservations with user authorization limits
US8374894Oct 19, 2001Feb 12, 2013The Crawford Group, Inc.Extended web enabled multi-featured business to business computer system for rental vehicle services
US8401881Feb 11, 2011Mar 19, 2013The Crawford Group, Inc.Extended web enabled business to business computer system for rental vehicle services
US8412546Apr 16, 2012Apr 2, 2013The Crawford Group, Inc.Method and apparatus for tracking repair facility performance for repairs relating to replacement rental vehicle transactions
US8600783Jun 10, 2004Dec 3, 2013The Crawford Group, Inc.Business to business computer system for communicating and processing rental car reservations using web services
US8775222Apr 16, 2012Jul 8, 2014The Crawford Group, Inc.System and method for improved rental vehicle reservation management
US20110087505 *Apr 14, 2011Summit Mobile Solutions, Inc.Method and system for damage reporting and repair
WO2011047125A1 *Oct 14, 2010Apr 21, 2011Summit Mobile Solutions, Inc.Method and system for damage reporting and repair
U.S. Classification705/5
International ClassificationG06Q10/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q10/025, G06Q30/04, G06Q30/0601, G06Q10/087, G06Q40/08, G06Q10/02
European ClassificationG06Q40/08, G06Q10/02, G06Q30/0601, G06Q10/087, G06Q30/04, G06Q10/025
Legal Events
Jun 20, 2008ASAssignment
Effective date: 20001011