Contivo gets patent for a software algorithm that establishes a rules-based mechanism for general-purpose data exchanges.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

March 4, 2003

1 Min Read

A patent has been issued on a data hand-off mechanism that may make it easier for systems to exchange information, with the sender not necessarily knowing everything that was needed in the past about the destination.

Patent no. 6,560,608 was issued for a software algorithm originated by Contivo Inc. for establishing a rules-based mechanism for general purpose data exchanges. Electronic Data Interface, a technology for automating the exchange of forms containing key business data, has no such a mechanism. Most existing data-transformation packages function on a point-to-point basis, moving data from one application to another in a pattern that can't be disrupted or applied elsewhere, with other applications.

The algorithm conceived by Contivo examines the context from which data is being sent and then looks at the context of the target destination. By understanding both contexts, it can consult a body of rules and let a rules engine determine what exchanges may occur between the two parties and whether the data being sent qualifies. That should make application integration faster.

Although individual data exchanges occur between systems frequently today, any change in the rules governing the exchange requires alterations to the code underlying the exchange software. Contivo has implemented the rules engine and exchange technology in its EIM Server, which can apply one set of rules to widely varying data exchanges.

The data-exchange algorithm was produced by two software engineers working for Contivo. They are Douglas Tomm of Milpitas, Calif., and Donald Leckie of Merrimack, N.H., according to the filing with the U.S. Patent Office. The patent was sought in June 2000 and was granted last month.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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