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Oracle Acquires 'Seminal' E-Commerce Patent

Oracle Corp. said it has acquired what it calls "a seminal patent in the area of interactive, online marketplaces" as it snapped up Chicago-based Strategic Processing Corp.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based e-business giant said that with the acquisition (financial details were not disclosed) it has obtained U.S. Patent 4,799,156 entitled "Interactive Market Management System," and the Canadian counterpart patent.

The patent was granted in 1986 to Eyal Shavit and Lester Teichner, long before there was a World Wide Web.

Shavit and Teichner recognized the significance of electronic, interactive marketplaces more than 15 years ago.

They described it at the time by saying that "dramatic new efficiencies can be provided by the configuration of online interactive concurrent electronic services which creates a marketplace which can serve a wide spectrum of buyers, wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, agents, and other service providers within an industry or multiple industries, as well as to freight, financial, and other services deployed over any number of existing communications systems."

That's clearly not a bad description of B2C and B2B e-commerce. Keep in mind that the Internet wasn't even officially born (or commonly recognized) until 1983, when ARPA Net changed over to the then-new TCP/IP protocol.

"This patent enhances Oracle's intellectual property portfolio and complements our leading marketplace products," said Kevin Miller, Oracle vice president for Internet procurement and exchange products.

"We are thrilled that the significance of the inventions set forth in the patent have been recognized by Oracle," said Teichner, president of SPC. "As the recognized leader in online marketplaces, Oracle should be able to obtain significant benefit from the patent for itself and its customers."

There was no immediate word from Oracle on its plans for use of the intellectual property.