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 The present application claims priority to a U.S. Provisional Patent Application entitled “Market Depth Display Click Based Trading and Mercury Display” filed Mar. 2, 2000, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
 The present invention is directed to the electronic trading of commodities. Specifically, the invention provides a trader with a versatile and efficient tool for executing trades. It facilitates the display of and the rapid placement of trade orders within the market trading depth of a commodity, where a commodity includes anything that can be traded with quantities and/or prices.
 At least 60 exchanges throughout the world utilize electronic trading in varying degrees to trade stocks, bonds, futures, options and other products. These electronic exchanges are based on three components: mainframe computers (host), communications servers, and the exchange participants' computers (client). The host forms the electronic heart of the fully computerized electronic trading system. The system's operations cover order-matching, maintaining order books and positions, price information, and managing and updating the database for the online trading day as well as nightly batch runs. The host is also equipped with external interfaces that maintain uninterrupted online contact to quote vendors and other price information systems.
 Traders can link to the host through three types of structures: high speed data lines, high speed communications servers and the Internet. High speed data lines establish direct connections between the client and the host. Another connection can be established by configuring high speed networks or communications servers at strategic access points worldwide in locations where traders physically are located. Data is transmitted in both directions between traders and exchanges via dedicated high speed communication lines. Most exchange participants install two lines between the exchange and the client site or between the communication server and the client site as a safety measure against potential failures. An exchange's internal computer system is also often installed with backups as a redundant measure to secure system availability. The third connection utilizes the Internet. Here, the exchange and the traders communicate back and forth through high speed data lines, which are connected to the Internet. This allows traders to be located anywhere they can establish a connection to the Internet.
 Irrespective of the way in which a connection is established, the exchange participants' computers allow traders to participate in the market. They use software that creates specialized interactive trading screens on the traders' desktops. The trading screens enable traders to enter and execute orders, obtain market quotes, and monitor positions. The range and. quality of features available to traders on their screens varies according to the specific software application being run. The installation of open interfaces in the development of an exchange's electronic strategy means users can choose, depending on their trading style and internal requirements, the means by which they will access the exchange.
 The world's stock, bond, futures and options exchanges have volatile products with prices that move rapidly. To profit in these markets, traders must be able to react quickly. A skilled trader with the quickest software, the fastest communications, and the most sophisticated analytics can significantly improve his own or his firm's bottom line. The slightest speed advantage can generate significant returns in a fast moving market. In today's securities markets, a trader lacking a technologically advanced interface is at a severe competitive disadvantage.
 Irrespective of what interface a trader uses to enter orders in the market, each market supplies and requires the same information to and from every trader. The bids and asks in the market make up the market data and everyone logged on to trade can receive this information if the exchange provides it. Similarly, every exchange requires that certain information be included in each order. For example, traders must supply information like the name of the commodity, quantity, restrictions, price and multiple other variables. Without all of this information, the market will not accept the order. This input and output of information is the same for every trader.
 With these variables being constant, a competitive speed advantage must come from other aspects of the trading cycle. When analyzing the time it takes to place a trade order for a given commodity, various steps contribute in different amounts to the total time required. Approximately 8% of the total time it takes to enter an order elapses between the moment the host generates the price for the commodity and the moment the client receives the price. The time it takes for the client application to display the price to the trader amounts to approximately 4%. The time it takes for a trade order to be transmitted to the host amounts to approximately 8%. The remainder of the total time it takes to place an order, approximately 80%, is attributable to the time required for the trader to read the prices displayed and to enter a trade order. The present invention provides a significant advantage during the slowest portion of the trading cycle—while the trader manually enters his order. Traders recognize that the value of time savings in this portion may amount to millions of dollars annually.
 In existing systems, multiple elements of an order must be entered prior to an order being sent to market, which is time consuming for the trader. Such elements include the commodity symbol, the desired price, the quantity and whether a buy or a sell order is desired. The more time a trader takes entering an order, the more likely the price on which he wanted to bid or offer will change or not be available in the market. The market is fluid as many traders are sending orders to the market simultaneously. It fact, successful markets strive to have such a high volume of trading that any trader who wishes to enter an order will find a match and have the order filled quickly, if not immediately. In such liquid markets, the prices of the commodities fluctuate rapidly. On a trading screen, this results in rapid changes in the price and quantity fields within the market grid. If a trader intends to enter an order at a particular price, but misses the price because the market prices moved before he could enter the order, he may lose hundreds, thousands, even millions of dollars. The faster a trader can trade, the less likely it will be that he will miss his price and the more likely he will make money.
 The inventors have developed the present invention which overcomes the drawbacks of the existing trading systems and dramatically reduces the time it takes for a trader to place a trade when electronically trading on an exchange. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that the trader will have orders filled at desirable prices and quantities.
 The “Mercury” display and trading method of the present invention ensure fast and accurate execution of trades by displaying market depth on a vertical or horizontal plane, which fluctuates logically up or down, left or right across the plane as the market prices fluctuates. This allows the trader to trade quickly and efficiently.
 Specifically, the present invention is directed to a graphical user interface for displaying the market depth of a commodity traded in a market, including a dynamic display for a plurality of bids and for a plurality of asks in the market for the commodity and a static display of prices corresponding to the plurality of bids and asks. In this embodiment the pluralities of bids and asks are dynamically displayed in alignment with the prices corresponding thereto. Also described herein is a method and system for placing trade orders using such displays.
 These embodiments, and others described in greater detail herein, provide the trader with improved efficiency and versatility in placing, and thus executing, trade orders for commodities in an electronic exchange. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, are given by way of illustration and not limitation. Many changes and modifications within the scope of the present invention may be made without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.
 As described with reference to the accompanying figures, the present invention provides a display and trading method to ensure fast and accurate execution of trades by displaying market depth on a vertical or horizontal plane, which fluctuates logically up or down, left or right across the plane as the market prices fluctuates. This allows the trader to place trade orders quickly and efficiently. A commodity's market depth is the current bid and ask prices and quantities in the market. The display and trading method of the invention increase the likelihood that the trader will be able to execute orders at desirable prices and quantities.
 In the preferred embodiment, the present invention is implemented on a computer or electronic terminal. The computer is able to communicate either directly or indirectly (using intermediate devices) with the exchange to receive and transmit market, commodity, and trading order information. It is able to interact with the trader and to generate contents and characteristics of a trade order to be sent to the exchange. It is envisioned that the system of the present invention can be implemented on any existing or future terminal or device with the processing capability to perform the functions described herein. The scope of the present invention is not limited by the type of terminal or device used. Further, the specification refers to a single click of a mouse as a means for user input and interaction with the terminal display as an example of a single action of the user. While this describes a preferred mode of interaction, the scope of the present invention is not limited to the use of a mouse as the input device or to the click of a mouse button as the user's single action. Rather, any action by a user within a short period of time, whether comprising one or more clicks of a mouse button or other input device, is considered a single action of the user for the purposes of the present invention.
 The system can be configured to allow for trading in a single or in multiple exchanges simultaneously. Connection of the system of the present invention with multiple exchanges is illustrated in
 The preferred embodiments of the present invention include the display of “Market Depth” and allow traders to view the market depth of a commodity and to execute trades within the market depth with a single click of a computer mouse button. Market Depth represents the order book with the current bid and ask prices and quantities in the market. In other words, Market Depth is each bid and ask that was entered into the market, subject to the limits noted below, in addition to the inside market. For a commodity being traded, the “inside market” is the highest bid price and the lowest ask price.
 The exchange sends the price, order and fill information to each trader on the exchange. The present invention processes this information and maps it through simple algorithms and mapping tables to positions in a theoretical grid program or any other comparable mapping technique for mapping data to a screen. The physical mapping of such information to a screen grid can be done by any technique known to those skilled in the art. The present invention is not limited by the method used to map the data to the screen display.
 How far into the market depth the present invention can display depends on how much of the market depth the exchange provides. Some exchanges supply an infinite market depth, while others provide no market depth or only a few orders away from the inside market. The user of the present invention can also chose how far into the market depth to display on his screen.
 In the screen display shown in
 The configuration of the screen display itself informs the user in a more convenient and efficient manner than existing systems. Traders gain a significant advantage by seeing the market depth because they can see trends in the orders in the market. The market depth display shows the trader the interest the market has in a given commodity at different price levels. If a large amount of bids or asks are in the market near the trader's position, he may feel he should sell or buy before the inside market reaches the morass of orders. A lack of orders above or below the inside market might prompt a trader to enter orders near the inside market. Without seeing the market depth, no such strategies could be utilized. Having the dynamic market depth, including the bid and ask quantities and prices of a traded commodity aligned with and displayed below the current inside market of the commodity conveys the information to the user in a more intuitive and easily understandable manner. Trends in the trading of the commodity and other relevant characteristics are more easily identifiable by the user through the use of the present invention.
 Various abbreviations are used in the screen displays, and specifically, in the column headings of the screen displays reproduced herein. Some abbreviations have been discussed above. A list of common abbreviations and their meanings is provided in Table 1.
TABLE I Abbreviations COLUMN DESCRIPTION COLUMN DESCRIPTION Month Expiration Month/Year TheoBid Theoretical Bid Price Bid Mbr Bid Member ID TheoAsk Theoretical Ask Price WrkBuys Working Buys for entire Group QAct Quote Action (Sends ID individual quotes) BidQty Bid Quantity BQQ Test Bid Quote Quantity ThrshBid Threshold Bid Price BQP Test Bid Quote Price BidPrc Bid Price Mkt BQQ Market Bid Quote Quantity Bid Qty Accum Accumulated Bid Quantity Mkt BQP Market Bid Quote Price BidPrc Avg Bid Price Average Quote Checkbox activates/deactivates contract for quoting AskPrc Avg Ask Price Average Mkt AQQ Market Ask Quote Quantity AskQty Accum Accumulated Ask Quantity Mkt AQP Market Ask Quote Price AskPrc Ask Price AQP Ask Quote Price ThrshAsk Threshold Ask Price AQQ Ask Quote Quantity AskQty Ask Quantity Imp BidQty Implied Bid Quantity WrkSells Working Sells for entire Group Imp BidPrc Implied Bid Price ID Ask Mbr Ask Member ID Imp AskQty Implied Ask Quantity NetPos Net Position Imp AskPrc Implied Ask Price FFNetPos Fast Fill Net Position Gamma Change in Delta given 1 pt change in underlying LastPrc Last Price Delta Change in price given 1 pt change in underlying LastQty Last Quantity Vola Percent volatility Total Total Traded Quantity Vega Price change given 1% change in Vola High High Price Rho Price change given 1% change in interest rate Low Low Price Theta Price change for every day that elapses Open Opening Price Click Trd Activate/deactivate click trading by contract Close Closing Price S (Status) Auction, Closed, FastMkt, Not Tradable, Pre-trading, Tradable, S = post-trading Chng Last Price-Last Close Expiry Expiration Month/Year TheoPrc Theoretical Price
 As described herein, the display and trading method of the present invention provide the user with certain advantages over systems in which a display of market depth, as shown in
 The display of market depth and the manner in which traders trade within the market depth can be effected in different manners, which many traders will find materially better, faster and more accurate. In addition, some traders may find the display of market depth to be difficult to follow. In the display shown in
 The Mercury display overcomes this problem in an innovative and logical manner. Mercury also provides an order entry system, market grid, fill window and summary of market orders in one simple window. Such a condensed display materially simplifies the trading system by entering and tracking trades in an extremely efficient manner. Mercury displays market depth in a logical, vertical fashion or horizontally or at some other convenient angle or configuration. A vertical field is shown in the figures and described for convenience, but the field could be horizontal or at an angle. In turn, Mercury further increases the speed of trading and the likelihood of entering orders at desired prices with desired quantities. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the Mercury display is a static vertical column of prices with the bid and ask quantities displayed in vertical columns to the side of the price column and aligned with the corresponding bid and ask prices. An example of this display is shown in
 Bid quantities are in the column
 The values in the price column are static; that is, they do not normally change positions unless a re-centering command is received (discussed in detail later). The values in the Bid and Ask columns however, are dynamic; that is, they move up and down (in the vertical example) to reflect the market depth for the given commodity. The LTQ column
 Various parameters are set and information is provided in column
 The inside market and market depth ascend and descend as prices in the market increase and decrease. For example,
 As the market ascends or descends the price column, the inside market might go above or below the price column displayed on a trader's screen. Usually a trader will want to be able to see the inside market to assess future trades. The system of the present invention addresses this problem with a one click centering feature. With a single click at any point within the gray area,
 The same information and features can be displayed and enabled in a horizontal fashion. Just as the market ascends and descends the vertical Mercury display shown in
 Next, trading commodities, and specifically, the placement of trade orders using the Mercury display is described. Using the Mercury display and trading method, a trader would first designate the desired commodity and, if applicable, the default quantities. Then he can trade with single clicks of the right or left mouse button. The following equations are used by the system to generate trade orders and to determine the quantity and price to be associated with the trade order. The following abbreviations are used in these formulas: P=Price value of row clicked, R=Value in R field, L=Value in L field, Q=Current Quantity, Q
 Any Order Entered Using Right Mouse Button
 Orders Entered Using the Left Mouse Button
 If “Offset” mode chosen in Quantity Description field then:
 If “number” mode chosen in Quantity Description field then:
 Bo=QP (Eq. 5)
 So=QP (Eq. 6)
 If “NetPos” mode chosen in Quantity Description field then:
 Bo=NP (Eq. 7)
 So=NP (Eq. 8)
 Orders can also be sent to market for quantities that vary according to the quantities available in the market; quantities preset by the trader; and which mouse button the trader clicks. Using this feature, a trader can buy or sell all of the bids or asks in the market at or better than a chosen price with one click. The trader could also add or subtract a preset quantity from the quantities outstanding in the market. If the trader clicks in a trading cell—i.e. in the BidQ or AskQ column, he will enter an order in the market. The parameters of the order depend on which mouse button he clicks and what preset values he set.
 Using the screen display and values from
 Using the right mouse button, an order would be sent to market at the price that corresponds to the row clicked for the total quantity of orders in the market that equal or better the price in that row plus the quantity in the R field
 Similarly, a right click in the BidQ column
 An order entered with the left mouse button and the “Offset” option chosen in the quantity description field
 The values in the L or R fields may be negative numbers. This would effectively decrease the total quantity sent to market. In other words, in the example of a right click in the AskQ column
 If a trader chose the “NetPos” option in the quantity description field
 If the trader chose a number value in the quantity description, a left click would send an order to market for the current quantity chosen by the trader. The default value of the current quantity will be the number entered in the quantity description field, but it could be changed by adjusting the figure in the current quantity field
 This embodiment of the invention also allows a trader to delete all of his working trades with a single click of either the right or left mouse button anywhere in the last traded quantity (LTQ) column
 The process for placing trade orders using the Mercury display and trading method of the present invention as described above is shown in the flowchart of
 If Offset was chosen, then the system, in step
 After either steps
 It should be understood that the above description of the invention and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, are given by way of illustration and not limitation. Many changes and modifications within the scope of the present invention may be made without departing from the spirit thereof, and the present invention includes all such changes and modifications.