Title of Invention

A SYSTEM FOR FACILITATING EXECUTING DIGITAL PHOTO SERVICES

Abstract The present invention is directed to a system, method and softwre product for a liking a digital photographiv imagine service provider silected form a plurality of a different service providers. The system include providing a servics directory which includes entries for a plurality of services, each service associated with at least one of the plurality of different service providers. A requaster silect service ther is to be applied respect to digital image.The system automatically provides the requstor with a list of one or more of a plurality of a diffrent service providers based on critrion. The requster than select one of the plurality of different service provides from the list. The user then sumbits a request for a disired service to the selected service provider and the provider provide the disire service
Full Text FORM 2
THE PATENTS ACT 1970
[39 OF 1970]
COMPLETE SPECIFICATION
[See Section 10]
"SYSTEM, METHOD AND SOFTWARE PRODUCT FOR ALLOWING A CONSUMER
TO ORDER IMAGE PRODUCTS OVER A COMMUNICATION NETWORK FROM A
PLURALITY OF DIFFERENT PROVIDERS" -
EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, a company organised under the laws of the State of New Jersey, of 343 State Street, Rochester, New York 14650, United States of America,
The following specification particularly describes the nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed:-


F1 JUL 2002

SYSTEM, METHOD AND SOFTWARE PRODUCT FOR ALLOWING
A CONSUMER TO ORDER IMAGE PRODUCTS OVER A
COMMUNICATION NETWORK FROM A PLURALITY OF
DIFFERENT PROVIDERS
5 FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a system for organizing, sharing, managing and ordering of digital images and/or image products over a communication network. In particular, for allowing individuals and/or businesses to
10 order goods and/or services over a communication network from a plurality of different providers that offer the same and/or different goods and/or services.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The consumer digital photography industry has the potential for substantial growth. Yet, today several factors are standing in the way, slowing the
15 growth rate. These factors can be understood from the perspectives of both consumer issues and business issues.
Today, many consumers are ignorant of the benefits of digital photography. Many who know of it's existence still see it as something "high tech," complex, and with limited usefulness - good for emailing, but not capable of
20 producing "normal pictures." In particular, there is low awareness that traditional prints - the kind they expect from film - can be made from digital pictures.
Those who do understand its potential benefits are frustrated. Their experience with the digital photographic system is fraught with difficulties. In particular, it is not obvious how to get prints in a simple manner. Printing service
25 infrastructures are not widespread. Awareness of internet printing services is low. Solutions that do exist are closed, limited to a single provider, and therefore often limited in terms of access, location, and features. The only alternative is the "do it yourself route - investing in the necessary printer and supplies. However, the consumer soon learns that this path has drawbacks. Supplies are expensive, the
30 process takes time, trial and error is often necessary, technical problems can arise, and the quality and durability of the prints can be limited. Moreover, this route is only

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open to the technically confident - and only those who own a sufficiently capable computer.
Many service providers in the industry are aware of these problems. Yet, industry conditions are causing them to be exacerbated, not addressed. By and
5 large, each service provider has to go it alone, trying to solve the problems single-handedly. A direct result is that each solution is incompatible with the next, built without standards. Solutions become proprietary, and incapable of interacting with one another. Partnerships are made more difficult.
Further more participants are required to invest in parts of the service
10 supply chain that are not within their core competencies. Additional resources are needed, mistakes are inevitably made, and deployment is slowed. Potential new and innovative service providers in specific aspects of the service provider chain are locked out. Perhaps worst of all, the consumers are not well served. Ultimately, consumers experience barriers instead of free choice. Consumers would benefit from
15 an open marketplace that provides their needs at any time or place - whether at home, on the road, or on vacation - without limiting their choices.
The present invention provides a system, method and software solution that links digital cameras, Internet storage and printing, and retail photo finishing together. It provides both technical specifications and the business mechanisms that
20 allow the system to work. It supports the ability for billing and payment information to flow around the system that gives economic incentives for participants to work together.
The present invention also provides opportunities for applications to communicate to digital imaging order creation, storage and fulfillment providers
25 across a global network. The application categories includes Internet enabled devices (cameras, phones, personal digital assistants, frames,...), kiosks, desktop software, web applications, and behind the counter applications like those found in mini-labs or photo-ramps. Storage, fulfillment, and order creation services categories include online, wholesale, and in-store. Applications communicate to these services through a
30 known interface.
A system according to the present invention includes a Directory Service layer that provides a list of service providers where the service providers can

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publish their services, definitions, capabilities, and location. Given a set of services available through the Directory Service layer, applications can be created to implement new work flows by finding and utilizing the services they want to interact with. For example a desktop application can be written to upload images from home
5 to an on-line provider, and order prints to be made at the fulfillment lab located at a local retailer store. The present invention takes advantage of the current industry movement toward providing services on the Internet, called Web Services and its associated standards that provide service discovery, description, transport and environment. It takes advantage of the existing standards like SOAP, WSDL, and
10 initiatives like UDDI, with the expectation that these initiatives will eventually move to standards bodies like the W3C.
The present invention allows customers to use a preferred service provider and/or on-line service provider of their choice. The present invention also allows the ability for a providers to provide a particular good and/or service that they
15 would like without having to provide a full range of goods and/or services for their particular customers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of linking a digital photographic imaging service requester to a
20 service provider selected from a plurality of different service providers, comprising:
a) providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of
services, each service associated with at least one of the plurality of different
service providers;
b) selecting of a service by the service requester to be provided with respect to a
25 digital image;
c) automatically providing the requester with a list of one or more of the plurality of different service providers based on a criterion;
d) the requester selecting one of the plurality of different service providers from the list;
30 e) providing a request for a desired service to the selected service provider; and
f) providing of the desired service by the selected service provider.

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In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system for providing imaging services over a communications network, including:
a) a first device having a user interface for receiving commands from a user
5 and a network interface,
b) a plurality of different service providers connected to the communication network,
c) a computer having a network interface for communication to the first device over the communication network, wherein the computer having a
10 services directory having entries for a plurality of services, at least one
service is associated with the plurality of different service providers, each of the plurality of different service providers having associated information,
d) wherein the user, using the first device, selects a service,
15 e) the computer automatically provides a list of at least one of the plurality of
different service providers based on a criterion using the associated information, the selected service provider providing the requested service.
In accordance of a further aspect of the present invention, there is 20 provided a computer software product for linking a digital photographic imaging service requester to a service provider selected from a plurality of service providers, the computer software program will when loaded on to a computer will cause the computer to do the following steps:
a) providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of
25 services, each service associated with at least one of the plurality of different service
providers;
b) selecting of a service by the service requester to be provided with
respect to a digital image;
c) automatically providing the requester with a list of one or more of the
30 plurality of different service providers based on a criterion;
d) the requester selecting one of the plurality of different service
providers from the list;

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e) providing a request for a desired service to the selected service provider,
f) providing of the desired service by the selected service provider.
In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, there is
5 provided a method of linking a digital photographic imaging service requester to a service provider selected from a plurality of different service providers that are registered in a member system, comprising:
a) providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of
services, each service associated with at least one of the plurality of different service
10 providers;
b) selecting of a service by the service requester to be provided with respect to a digital image;
c) automatically providing the requester with a list of one or more of the plurality of different service providers based on a criterion;
15 d) the requester selecting one of the plurality of different service
providers from the list;
e) providing a request for a desired service to the selected service
provider; and
f) providing of the desired service by the selected service provider.
20 These and other aspects, objects, features and advantages of the
present invention will be more clearly understood and appreciated from a review of
the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and appended claims, and by reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
25 In the detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the
invention presented below, reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which:
Fig. 1 is diagram of a system made in accordance with the present
invention; and
30 Fig. 2 is diagram of component architecture of the system of Fig. 1.
DETAIL DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

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Referring to Fig. 1, there is illustrated a system 10 made in accordance with the present invention. The system 10 is designed to provide extensive offerings of image products and services from a plurality of different photographic service
providers. The system 10 also allows an individual service provider to concentrate on
5 providing goods and/or services that they have core competencies, yet also allows the service provider to offer their customer the goods and/or services of other providers while still maintaining it's relationship with the customer. The system 10 sets forth certain standard and protocols to be followed by the members for the transmission of images and orders over the communication network so that the various members can
10 easily exchange or provide information to other members and/or users. In addition the system 10 permits the providers to offer services to a potential broader range of customers. The system 10 further allows the customer to create inquires so that orders can be fulfilled by a service provider that meets the criteria provided by the customer.
15 The system 10 includes a service manager 12 that provides several
functions. In the embodiment illustrated, service manager 12 comprises is a computer/server having appropriate software programs for operation in accordance with the present invention. The service manager 12 provides a services directory of various services/goods that may be obtained from member providers through the
20 system 10. Each member provider (photographic service provider) registers with the service manager 12 setting forth the type of goods and services it can provide. Further additional information may be provided by the member provider, such as location, hours of operation, costs, delivery options or any other information the service provider believes may be useful by a potential purchaser. This may also
25 include specific information that is viewed by potential purchasers. For example, one price list may reserved for wholesale business and one for retail customer. The entered information is stored by the service manager 12 in a manner that allows members and customer to search the information to find a provider that best matches their needs and requirements for goods and/or services .
30 The service manager 12 is accessible by various member
providers 16,18,20,22,24,26, and customers/users 28,30 and 32 over a common communication network 14. In the embodiment illustrated, the communication

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network 14 comprises the Internet. However, any appropriate communication network may be utilized such as a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN).. In order for member providers 16, 18, 20, 22,24 and 26 to be accessed through the system 10, they must have registered with the service manager 12
5 providing the appropriate required information and optional information that is
allowed. The registration process includes an agreement by the provider to follow the technical standards and business practices set forth by the system 10. In the embodiment illustrated, member providers 16, 18, and 20 are service providers that provide various photographic related goods and/or services. The member
10 providers 16, 18, and 20 may provide a full range of photographic goods and/or
services, provide only a few services, or provide specialty goods and/or services. For illustrative purposes only, member provider 16 may provide a full range of photographic prints and/or services, whereas member provider 18 may provide only large prints and framing and member provider 20 may provide novelty products such
15 as mugs, T-shirts, hats, etc having custom images thereon.
Member provider 22 in the embodiment illustrated is an access provider that stores high resolution digital images that can be accessed by other member providers and/or users. The member provider 22 may charge these members and/or users for storage and/or access to the digital images in any manner deemed
20 appropriate. For example, but not by way of limitation, charges may be assessed to the owner of the digital image and/or to the entity accessing the image.
Member provider 24 in the embodiment illustrated is a promotion provider that makes available to customers or other members promotions with respect to the purchase of goods and/or services. For example, the member provider 24
25 provides a promotion to member provider 16 for a customer that purchases goods and/or services through or from member provider 16. A fee may be paid by member 24 to access member provider 16 or to the service manager 12. Also a fee usually incurred by the customer can be subsidized or paid by the member provider 24.
30 Member provider 26 is an image owner that has ownership rights to
images that it stores or that is stored on his behalf at member provider 22. Member

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provider 26 may collect fees from a user or another member provider in exchange for granting the right to use digital images that it owns.
Customers/users 28,30, and 32 represents various users connected to system 10 for the placing of orders for goods and/or services with respect to digital
5 images. In particular, users 28 and 30 represent two separate customers using personal computers that have appropriate software for communication over the internet 14 and interacting with the various member providers and service manager 12. Customer/user 32 is a computer terminal typically located at retail or public available site. In the embodiment illustrated, customer 32 is using a kiosk for
10 communication with system 10. The images may be provided by the customer directly to the kiosk or are accessed from a digital storage location that is near or remote from the customer. For example, the digital images may be stored by access provider 22.
In the event that member provider 16 requires an additional service
15 from another member provider such as member provider 18, it may be necessary to transfer a partially completed order between member providers. It is preferable that the additional service be provided over the communication network 14. However, this may not be an option. For example, but not by way of limitation, member provider 16 may produce an enlargement of a customer supplied digital image. To
20 complete the order, member provider 16 requests the framing service offered by
member provider 18. To complete the order, the enlargement with associated order information must be physically transported to member provider 18 via delivery transport 34 such as a vehicle. Once the requested frame is combined with the enlargement, the completed order can then be shipped back to provider 16 for
25 delivery to the recipient or shipped directly from member provider 18 using the information regarding order delivery collected by member provider 16 to the recipient.
Referring to Fig. 2, there is illustrated a diagram of the component architecture of the system of Fig. 1. The system 10 can be considered as being
30 divided into three layers of operation. The top layer 40 consists of software and
devices for the creating and placing of orders. For example, a customer may place an order using a computer, such a personal computer, running a software application 42

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which establishes a connection with system 10. Device 44 comprises various other electronic devices capable of communicating with system 10 such as, but not limited to digital cameras, digital image enabled phones, digital picture frames, and personal
digital assistants. Device 46 represents a kiosk having an appropriate user interface
5 and a communication interface for communicating with system 10 thereby allowing a
user of the kiosk to create and place an order for goods and/or services. Alternatively, device 46 may comprise a digital mini-lab having appropriate communication software thereby allowing a retailer and/or customer to create and place an order for goods and/or services within system 10. In an alternate form of use
10 of a personal computer, a customer at block 48 may run a software application via a conventional web browser such as Netscape Navigator for gaining entry to system 10.
Continuing with Fig. 2, a middle layer 50 represents the functionality of the service manager 12. Middle layer 50 is partitioned into functional blocks 54, 56, and 58. As illustrated, each of blocks 54, 56, and 58 can reside on
15 different web servers (not shown) each with their own interface to the communication network 14 and system 10. Such partitioning allows the system 10 and service manager 12 to scale more readily as network traffic increases. However, functional blocks 54, 56, and 58 can alternatively reside on a single web server/computer (not shown) when serving locations with lower network demand. Block 54 comprises a
20 directory/list of all available services within system 10 and includes the database
functionality of all the registered member providers and their related information such as unique member ID, service capability, costs of goods/services, delivery capability etc., etc. It is to be understood that a member provider can represent a group/chain of commonly branded and/or owned stores, for example, a chain of drug stores, discount
25 stores, etc. In this case the unique member ID may further include an additional code/number to designate specific store site within the chain. The registration information provided by the provider includes required information of the member provider and any optional information that is allowed by manager 12. Block 54 can be queried from the communication network 14 and communicates with Blocks 56
30 and 58 to assist users and/or member providers to select the proper combination of member providers to complete an order as will be described later herein.

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Block 56 represents a unique service available within system 10 and is known as a locator service or simply a locator. The locator functions to provide and receive criteria from users and/or member providers. The criteria is then formed into
filters that can be applied to the services directory database of block 54. Block 54
5 returns a list of member providers to the locator of block 56 matching the provided criteria. An example of a criterion provided by the locator is the physical proximity of the member provider to the service requestor. It should be understood that the
criteria may comprise a list of various desired criterion. In addition, the service
manager 12 may set predetermined sets of various criteria/criterion that can simply
10 selection of a particular provider. This allows the system 10 to offer well know
feature that are market to broad consumer base, for example, a branded feature, such
as Kodak's Color Watchâ„¢ system for producing prints.
Block 58 provides member validation services to requesting member
providers to prevent fraud by validating that a member provider is a legitimate
15 registered member or customer in good standing. This information can also be used
to regulate pricing to specific classes of service requestors in order to differentiate
between wholesale, retail and user level service requests.
Continuing with Fig. 2, a bottom layer 60 is shown which represents
all the various services and member providers provided by the system 10. Bottom
20 layer 60 includes a plurality of services 62, 64, 66, 68, and 70. In the particular
embodiment illustrated, service 62 provides for the ability of creating an order on
behalf of a requestor. The order creation services may be provided by any of the
member providers 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26. For example, the order creation may
result from the user accessing member provider 22 who then processes the order by
25 having the appropriate member provider providing the requested goods and/or
services. Alternatively, the order creation may occur directly with any of the other
member providers as appropriate for that member provider.
Service block 64 represents the fulfillment of goods and/or services for
a requestor. The actual fulfillment of goods and/or services will be provided by any
30 of the registered member providers capable of providing the required goods and/or services.

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Service block 66 represents where the digital images are stored. In the
particular embodiment illustrated, this is provided by member provider 22. However,
it will be understood that any of the member providers of system 10 can store and
provide access to digital images.
5 Service block 68 represents a system whereby a provider provides
goods and/or services to a customer to which it is not directly affiliated with. The system 10 provides for an optional guarantee of payment for services provided by member providers that guarantees payment to a requested member provider who produces the requested goods and/or services from the requesting member provider.
10 The accountability of credit guarantors stabilizes a large system such as system 10 where different member providers can be located globally and have no formal
business relationship with each other. Defaulting on the payment for delivered goods and/or services by a requesting member provider causes service manager 12 to negatively impact the credit rating of the defaulting member provider, and may
15 include removing the member from the Directory list. In addition, the manager 12 can assess a fee against a member provider to be credited against the cost of goods and/or services delivered. Periodic renewals of member provider registrations can have a higher fee associated with member providers with a history of defaulting or late payments.
20 Service block 70 represents a credit and quality of service performance
history available to requesting and/or authorized member providers or customers. This rating may be of value in determining the choice of a member provider and used as a criterion by the locator of block 56. The service request can have an associated fee with the retrieval of the requested information.
25 In order to better understand the operation of system 10, various
scenarios will be described. In the first scenario, a user purchases a digital camera from a retailer which is provided with application software 42 for operating on a personal computer that enables the personal computer to communicate with the system 10. In addition, several retailers registered their ability to accept print orders
30 in the services directory 54 managed by the service manager 12 of system 10. Operating the application software provided, the user accesses system 10 and provides a "find nearest" criterion for the locator of block 56 which returns a few

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choices based on the user's address. When the user selects his preferred fulfillment member provider, the application software stores a reference to that registered member provider. When the electronic order is completed, the application software
creates a print order and routes the order and the image files to the selected member
5 provider. The selected member provider accepts the order and places it in its queue for fulfillment which when completed, automatically notifies the user to pick up the order at the retail fulfillment member provider. In an alternate embodiment of this scenario, the retailer can preprogram either the camera if it has a communication interface or the provided application software to automatically configure itself to
10 access the retailer fulfillment member provider upon connection to the system 10. In a second scenario, a user interacts with a kiosk at a retail location. The kiosk, located at a member provider, operates software which communicates with the system 10 and permits access to the user's digital images such that the high resolution digital image file can be downloaded to the kiosk for printing by the kiosk
15 or locally connected printing device. The user can then select a frame for the printed digital image while remaining at the retail store. The system 10 permits the member provider which provides access to the high resolution digital image to assess a fee directly to the kiosk for payment by the user or the kiosk member provider/retailer who is also selling the picture frame.
20 In a third scenario, a user having filled the digital image storage
capacity of a digital camera wishes to offload the digital images to his preferred storage member provider 22 to permit him to resume taking pictures. The user interacting with a kiosk in a theme park operates software running on the kiosk to
access the storage member provider 22 of his choice provided within system 10.
25 Using a credit card, the user agrees to pay the kiosk operator a fee for transferring the digital image files from his digital camera to his preferred member provider 22 for storing digital image files. While the digital image files are transferring, software running on the kiosk offers a promotional opportunity provided by promotion member provider 24 in system 10 to print any images (currently being uploaded) at a
30 remote location serviced by another member provider. If the user takes advantage of the promotion, the kiosk member provider will waive or discount the upload fee. In alternate embodiment of this scenario, the promotion provider 26 could have

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previously provided a coupon to the user as a credit for the kiosk member provider to cover the upload fee. Thus, it should be obvious that a plurality of different member providers can be used at a single location by a single user. In this scenario, a first local member provider can be used for providing image goods and/or services for
5 immediate access, a second provider can be used for long term storage of digital
image files, and a third provider can be used for providing goods and/or services at a remote location. For example, the remote location may comprise the user's home address or the location of a designated recipient such as a relative or close friend. Thus the user is not tied to any single member provider that may have restriction in
10 its ability to provide goods and/or services to a user.
In a fourth scenario, a user has a full service member provider 16 which offers a range of services such as scanning of film, digital image storage, printing, and providing of related goods and/or services. An example of such a provider is Ofoto, an online photo service provider. In the arrangement of system 10,
15 a user uploads digital image files from a digital camera via a personal computer
operating software to access the full service member provider 16 for digital image file storage. Alternatively, images captured on film and submitted to the full service member provider 16 can be processed (developed), scanned and the resultant digital image files stored along with user uploaded digital image files. The user, under
20 certain circumstances, may desire to print one of the stored digital image files at an alternate fulfillment member provider 18 or 20. For example, if a user wishes to have a digital image printed at a local member provider within a very short period of time, like within an hour, the user may designate a local member provider 18 for printing of the images that can be picked up or delivered on short notice. In this situation, the
25 member provider 16 would subcontract the job to the user designated alternate
fulfillment member provider 18. A fee can be assessed for providing the stored digital image to the user designated fulfillment member provider 18 for printing. In this scenario, the user may designate the exact alternate fulfillment member provider 18 of his choice incurring a possible fee or he may simply request one hour
30 delivery permitting the full service member provider 16 to locate an alternate fulfillment member provider 18 with whom it has a more favorable business relationship and thus avoiding the possible fee.

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In a fifth scenario, the owner of the image may be a professional photographer that owns the rights to an image that a consumer desires to obtain an image product, such as an enlargement. The professional photographer may be a
member provider 26 which owns the rights to the digital image files that they or 5 another member provider stores. Upon accessing the digital image file for
fulfillment, a fee may be incurred payable to the professional photographer 26 upon fulfilling of the requested goods and/or services. This allows various other member providers to provide services for the utilization of the copyrighted image including storage, printing, etc., compensating the owner of the image for its use while not
10 restricting the consumer to a particular member provider. This permits greater
utilization of the digital image by the requestor and by the owner of the image. Thus the owner of the image is not limited in its ability to provide goods and/or services with respect to the digital image.
Turning now to the selection process used by a service requestor, the
15 locator of block 56 may be used in meeting the criteria of the requestor. For a given user, there are many criterion which will affect their selection of a member provider either explicitly or implicitly and can include any of the following criteria: brand, cost of service, specific product characteristics, delivery time, delivery method, delivery reach, access time, and/or the ability to ship to a specific location. Setting forth the
20 criteria of importance to the user, the locator of block 56 takes the criteria and
communicates with the services directory block 54 to present to the user a sorted list of potential member providers that can fulfill the requested goods and/or services. The user then makes the appropriate selection or provides or removes further criteria to find a suitable member provider.
25 The services directory 54 may provide a further service to the member
providers. When a user is presented with a list of member providers meeting the user's criteria, the services directory 54 can apply a second set of criteria formed from business relationships established between member providers and the service manager 12. An example of a business relationship that forms a criterion is the
30 payment by a member provider to the service manager 12 such that the listing of the member provider to the user will be given a preferential positioning or prominence in its display. Another example of a business criterion is a payment of a member

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provider to the service manager 12 for accessibility by a certain geographic customer base. For example, a member provider may be located in a particular city and pay a registration fee at first stated fee to fulfill service requests within a local area such as
a 50 mile range. If the member provider wishes to service a broader region, a second,
5 typically larger registration fee can be incurred. In addition, the member provider may have a second price listing to accommodate the enlarged service area. This dynamic information is maintained by the service manager 12 in the services directory 54.
In another operation of the system 10, each member, or requester, may
10 send a request or offer to other member providers providing or requesting a bid for a particular service. For example a first provider make a request for bids from other providers as to the cost for providing a particular job, such as a custom frame and mounting of a print, to be completed by a given date. Then the first provider can accept a bid that best suits his business needs.
15 In yet another operation of the system 10 a provider, may send out an
offer to do certain jobs for other providers, based on time and volume. This can be a special promotion or a standard offering. The offering can including a certain sharing of a designated portion of the fee to be charged to the customer that is to be given to the supplier of the customer.
20 In still another operation of the system 10, the requester can make an
inquiry with respect to certain information that is not present or commonly available in the system 10, for example, which providers use environmentally friendly products, such as, biodegradable products versus long lasting products such as plastic, or the location where certain components were originally manufactured. The
25 system 10 allows for this type of inquiry to be made.
As can be seen from the foregoing, the requester of services now has the ability to quickly retrieve a number of different photo service providers with out being restricted to a single brand or type provider nor limited to the type or style of products. In addition, the provider can concentrate on their core competencies and
30 still increase the potential number of customer for it's goods and/or services.
As previously described, various member providers can have other service member providers provide goods and/or services for the completion of an

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order. As a result of such business transactions, certain providers will owe monies to other service providers. The system 10 allows for periodic settlements of monies owed by producing a periodic report that are forwarded to the providers owing monies to each other. This report may include the net resulting monies owed thus
5 minimizing the financial transactions between the providers. The periodic reports can be done on a daily, weekly, monthly as desired by the parties. In order for the system 10 to properly function, the orders in the system 10 are passed through the service manager 12 that keeps track of the business transactions required to complete each order. Unique member IDs are used for securing the confidential nature of this
10 information and properly assigning liabilities and/or credits to member providers. In an alternate embodiment, each member provider initiates a settlement transaction report at the completion of their requested and provided service. In this case, member providers transmit the settlement transaction report directly between member providers and cause payments of monies to flow for each
15 completed service request. The settlement transaction report is also provided to the service manager 12 for tracking of information related to quality of service and/or financial reliability that impact the credit rating or the standing of a specific member provider in the services directory 54.
As previously described various criteria may be used for finding a
20 suitable provider base on a review of information stored on the system 10 that was
provided by the provider. This information can be dynamically changed according to the needs and/or requirements of the provider. Thus, a provider may provide a price list for a particular service that may last for only a short period of time due to a special promotion and/or to meet the work flow requirements of the provider. The
25 system 10 permits the provider to dynamically update the stored information in the services directory 54. The update may occur as frequently as desired or programmed to last for a predetermined time period. For example, a provider may set low price for a given product or service and one hour later change the price to a different price based on a predetermined criterion such as work flow capacity or a time period may
30 be set for an hour, day, etc. for a given product. In addition if too many orders are received by a provider, for example by having a very attractive price, the system 10

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may be configured to automatically forward additional orders to a different provider that the first provider may have a prearranged relationship.
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the examples described above ant that various changes may be made without departing
5 from the scope of the present invention, the present invention being defined by the claims that follow.

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CLAIMS
1. A method of linking a digital photographic imaging service
requester to a service provider selected from a plurality of different service providers,
comprising:
a) providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of services, each service associated with at least one of said plurality of different service providers;
b) selecting of a service by the service requester to be provided with respect to a digital image;
c) automatically providing the requester with a list of one or more of said plurality of different service providers based on a criterion;
d) said requester selecting one of said plurality of different service providers from said list;
e) providing a request for a desired service to the selected service provider; and
f) providing of said desired service by said selected service provider.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion comprises a location of a designated recipient.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the criterion is selected from one of the following:
Brand
Cost of service
Specific Product characteristics
Delivery time
Delivery method
Delivery reach
Specific provider characteristics
Access time

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Ability to ship to specific location.
4. The method a according to claim 1 wherein said automatically
Providing of said list is accomplished through the use of a locator service.
5- The method according to claim 1 wherein said requester
selecting one of said plurality of different service provide, from said list further comprises obtaining a subset of providers from said list based a second criterion.
6 A method according to claim 1 wherein the service provider is
positioned on the display screen of imaging client according to a business criteria
7 A system for providing imaging services over a communications network, including:
a) a first device having a user interface for receiving commands from a user and a network interface,
b) a plurality of different service providers connected to said communication network,
c) a computer having a network interface for communication to said first device over said communication network, wherein said computer having a services directory having entries for a plurality of services, at least one service is associated with said plurality of different service providers, each of said plurality of different service providers having associated information,
d) wherein the user, using said first device, selects a service,
e) said computer automatically provides a list of at least one of said plurality t)f different service providers based on a criterion using said associated information,
f) said selected service provider providing said requested service.

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8 A computer software product for linking a digital photographic
imaging service requester to a service provider selected from a plurality of service providers, said computer software program will when loaded on to a computer will cause the computer to do the following steps:
a) providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of services, each service associated with at least one of said plurality of different service providers;
b) selecting of a service by the service requester to be provided with respect to a digital image;
c) automatically providing the requester with a list of one or more of said plurality of different service providers based on a criterion;
d) said requester selecting one of said plurality of different service providers from said list;
e) providing a request for a desired service to the selected service provider,
f) providing of said desired service by said selected service provider.
9 A method of linking a digital photographic imaging service
requester to a service provider selected from a plurality of different service providers that are registered in a member system, comprising:
a) providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of services, each service associated with at least one of said plurality of different service providers;
b) selecting of a service by the service requester to be provided with respect to a digital image;
c) automatically providing the requester with a list of one or more of said plurality of different service providers based on a criterion;
d) said requester selecting one of said plurality of different service providers from said list;
e) providing a request for a desired service to the selected service provider, and
f) providing of said desired service by said selected service provider.

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10. A method of linking a digital photographic imaging service requester to a
service provider selected from a plurality of different service providers
substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
11. A system for providing imaging services over a communications network substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
12. A computer software product substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Dated this 28th day of June, 2002

(B. KOMBI)
OF REMFRY & SAGAR
AGENT FOR THE APPLICANTS

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ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE
The present invention is directed to a system, method, and software product for linking a digital photographic imaging service requester to a service provider selected from a plurality of different service providers. The system includes
5 providing a services directory which includes entries for a plurality of services, each service associated with at least one of the plurality of different service providers. A requester selects a service that is to be applied respect to a digital image. The system automatically provides the requester with a list of one or more of the plurality of different service providers based on a criterion. The requester then selects one of the
10 plurality of different service providers from the list. The user then submits a request for a desired service to the selected service provider and the provider provide the desired service.


Documents:

575-mum-2002-abstract(25-5-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-abstract(26-6-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-abstract(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-abstract(granted)-(30-4-2010).pdf

575-mum-2002-abstract.doc

575-mum-2002-abstract.pdf

575-mum-2002-cancelled pages(25-5-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-claims(granted)-(30-4-2010).pdf

575-mum-2002-claims.doc

575-mum-2002-claims.pdf

575-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(14-7-2011).pdf

575-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(15-07-2008).pdf

575-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(21-5-2009).pdf

575-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(23-4-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence(ipo)-(11-7-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence(ipo)-(3-5-2010).pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-150606.pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-210103.pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-280602.pdf

575-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-300702.pdf

575-mum-2002-descripiton (complete).pdf

575-mum-2002-description(granted)-(30-4-2010).pdf

575-mum-2002-drawing(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-drawing(granted)-(30-4-2010).pdf

575-mum-2002-drawings.pdf

575-mum-2002-form 1(25-5-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 1(26-6-2008.pdf

575-mum-2002-form 1(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 13(21-5-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 13(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 2(granted)-(30-4-2010).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 2(title page)-(granted)-(30-4-2010).pdf

575-MUM-2002-FORM 26(14-7-2011).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 3(1-7-2002).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 3(23-1-2003).pdf

575-MUM-2002-FORM 3(23-4-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 3(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 5(1-7-2002).pdf

575-mum-2002-form 5(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-form-1.pdf

575-mum-2002-form-13(8-4-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-form-18.pdf

575-mum-2002-form-2.doc

575-mum-2002-form-2.pdf

575-mum-2002-form-26.pdf

575-mum-2002-form-3.pdf

575-mum-2002-form-5.pdf

575-mum-2002-general power of authority(1-7-2002).pdf

575-mum-2002-general power of authority(8-4-2008).pdf

575-MUM-2002-PETITION UNDER RULE 137(23-4-2009).pdf

575-MUM-2002-PETITION UNDER RULE 138(23-4-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-specification(amanded)-(25-5-2009).pdf

575-mum-2002-specification(amanded)-(26-6-2008).pdf

575-mum-2002-specification(amanded)-(8-4-2008).pdf

abstract1.jpg


Patent Number 240283
Indian Patent Application Number 575/MUM/2002
PG Journal Number 19/2010
Publication Date 07-May-2010
Grant Date 30-Apr-2010
Date of Filing 01-Jul-2002
Name of Patentee EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY
Applicant Address 343 State Street, Rochester, New York 14650
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 LOUE CHAUVIN 415 Hobsons Choice, Webster,New York 14580
2 HOWARD E. BUSSEY 4 Chelsea Park, Pittsford,New York 14534
3 PHILIP GERSKOVICH 75 Douglas Road, Rochester,New York 14610
4 MARK S. COOK 12901 Castle Court,Chantilly, Viginia 20151
5 CHRISTOPHER M. DOBBS P.O.Box 92988, Rochester,New York 14692
6 DALE F. MACINTYRE 630 Chesse Factory Road, Honeoye Falls, New York 14472
PCT International Classification Number G06Q10/00;G06Q30/00
PCT International Application Number N/A
PCT International Filing date
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 09/939,369 2001-08-24 U.S.A.