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10 years later, Chambersburg company gets its patent

November 12, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - In November 1998, William Gindlesperger filed a patent on an idea for electronically managing the procurement of customized products and services, saving money for buyers and helping vendors bid on projects.

Ten years later, on Tuesday, U.S. Patent No. 7,451,106 for "The Gindlesperger Method" was officially registered and posted, a patent he believes "is worth several billions of dollars once it is rolled out to the entire market."

"We like to say it's the last bastion of cost reduction," said Gindlesperger, the founder and president of e-LYNXX Corp. in Chambersburg. He called the patent "revolutionary. It forms the backbone for any electronic system that manages the procurement of customized goods and services."

When one thinks patents, Thomas Edison and the light bulb, or Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone might come to mind. However, The Gindlesperger Method falls under a relatively new category, Business Method Patents, and this one had been going through the approval process almost as long as the category has existed, said Gindlesperger, who founded the company as ABC Advisors Inc. in 1975.

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An example of another business method patent would be Priceline.com's method of allowing customers to search for reduced prices for travel and hotels, said Joseph F. Patterson, e-LYNXX's communications director.

The e-LYNXX methodology has five main elements, Gindlesperger explained:

A buyer enters attributes of various suppliers into a database, including such things as production capacity, location and quality. The specifications for the project, such as quantity, size and other features, are then entered into the database and matched with the suppliers who best match the specifications.

The project specifications are then sent to the subset of suppliers, who in turn, send bids on the work, Gindlesperger said.

This is different from other "e-procurement" systems used to buy items from inventories or retailers in that it targets customized goods and services, which account for "6 percent to 30 percent of all revenues of organizations in the United States of America," Gindlesperger said.

The company received a similar patent for a system of procuring customized printing services in 2002, he said. The new patent allows the method to be licensed to suppliers, not just in printing, but in transportation, manufacturing or any other business requiring custom products and services, he said.

What makes The Gindlesperger method patentable is that it is tied to a particular technology, computers, he said.

The savings to buyers can be 25 percent or greater, Gindlesperger said. The advantage to suppliers is an opportunity to receive specifications and bid on projects electronically, reducing downtime in production.

Gindlesperger said the patent application was filed the same year a federal court ruled that unique methods of doing business on computers could be patented.

The patent is only registered in the United States and a patent application has been filed in Canada. Europe does not accept business method patents, Gindlesperger said.

The company is in negotiations with a major law firm to handle the licensing and enforcement of the patent, including agreements with companies that adopted the method since the application was filed, he said.

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