Auctions on the Internet
  • 5,794,207, August 11, 1998. Method and apparatus for a cryptographically assisted commercial network system designed to facilitate buyer-driven conditional purchase offers
    The present invention is a method and apparatus for effectuating bilateral buyer-driven commerce. The present invention allows prospective buyers of goods and services to communicate a binding purchase offer globally to potential sellers, for sellers conveniently to search for relevant buyer purchase offers, and for sellers potentially to bind a buyer to a contract based on the buyer's purchase offer. In a preferred embodiment, the apparatus of the present invention includes a controller which receives binding purchase offers from prospective buyers. The controller makes purchase offers available globally to potential sellers. Potential sellers then have the option to accept a purchase offer and thus bind the corresponding buyer to a contract. The method and apparatus of the present invention have applications on the Internet as well as conventional communications systems such as voice telephony.
    This patent is held by, a company that has consumers "name the price" they are willing to pay for tickets, and using an auction where the first willing seller (an airline) gets the sale. This is a very well known auction technique, but Priceline claims the patent gives them a monopoly on using this sales method on the Internet. Here are a few stories on this patent.

  • 5,845,265, issued December 1, 1998. This patent is assigned to MercExchange, L.L.C., and also covers auction methods on the Internet.
    A method and apparatus for creating a computerized market for used and collectible goods by use of a plurality of low cost posting terminals and a market maker computer in a legal framework that establishes a bailee relationship and consignment contract with a purchaser of a good at the market maker computer that allows the purchaser to change the price of the good once the purchaser has purchased the good thereby to allow the purchaser to speculate on the price of collectibles in an electronic market for used goods while assuring the safe and trusted physical possession of a good with a vetted bailee.
    MercExchange claims that this patent blocks the practices used by
    Comments and suggestions to Vergil Bushnell

    CPT Home Page             CPT's Business Practices Patents Page