Title:
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT METHODS AND SYSTEMS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present application provides computer implemented methods and corresponding computer system that perform the methods that include the step or steps of receiving a plurality of orders for an item from each of a plurality of users. The orders include various types of orders, including a first, second, and third type of orders. Order queries are thereafter received and potential counterparties are identified for the item that is the subject of the query. Potential counterparties are preferably identified based on the number of each of the various types of orders placed by the plurality or users. A listing of the identified potential counterparties may thereafter be communicated to the requesting party.



Inventors:
Weiss, David (New York, NY, US)
Papageorgiou, Antonio (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/967392
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
12/31/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06Q30/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ZIEGLE, STEPHANIE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INNOVATION DIVISION (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A computer implemented method comprising: receiving a plurality of orders for an item from a first user, wherein the plurality of orders comprise a number of a first type of orders and a number of a second type of orders; receiving a plurality of orders for the item from a second user, wherein the plurality of orders comprises a number of the first type of orders and a number of a second type of orders, wherein the number of the first type of orders from the first user exceeds the number of the first type of orders from the second user; receiving from a workstations associated with a third user a query for at least one potential counterparty for an order for the item; determining in response to the query at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item, the at least one potential counterparty comprising at least the first user, based at least on the number of the first type of orders from the first user exceeding the number of the first type of orders from the second user; and communicating a listing comprising the at least one potential counterparty for the third user order.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the item comprises a financial instrument.

3. The method of claim 1, comprising: storing information regarding the first and second user in a first database; storing information regarding orders for the item in a second database; and maintaining a third database that crosses the first database and the second database.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the first database comprises a user name or ID, and at least one communication address for each of the first and second users, the second database comprises a user name or ID, and historic interest data for each of the first and the second users, and the third database comprises a user name or ID, and a number of each of a plurality of order types derived from the historic interest data.

5. The method of claim 1, comprising determining a number of the first type of orders from the first user that have been executed and determining a number of the first type of orders from the second user that have been executed, wherein the at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item is further determined based on the numbers of the first type of orders from each of the first user and the second user that have been executed.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the plurality of orders from the first user comprise a number of a third type of orders and the plurality of orders from the second user comprise a number of the third type of orders, and wherein the at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item is further determined based on the numbers of the second and third types of orders from each of the first user and the second user.

7. The method of claim 6, comprising: determining a composite score for the first user based on the number of the first, second, and third types of orders from the first user; and determining a composite score for the second user based on the number of the first, second, and third types of orders from the second user, wherein the at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item is further determined based on the composite score of each of the first user and the second user.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the composite scores is further determined based on the number of executed orders for the item.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein the first type of orders comprises at least one of bids and offers for the item, the second type of orders comprises at least one of requests for quotes and quotes, and the third type of orders comprises indications of interests.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein an indication of interest comprises at least one trading variable less than necessary for an actual order.

11. The method of claim 1, determining in response to the query at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item, the at least one potential counterparty comprising at least a fourth user, based at least on position data for the item of the fourth user.

12. The method of claim 1, comprising causing an interface screen to be displayed at the workstation associated with the third user, the interface screen comprising market data regarding the item the listing comprising the at least one potential counterparty for the third user order.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the listing is displayed in an order based on a level of interest in trading the item.

14. The method of claim 13, comprising limiting the listing to a qualified number of potential counterparties.

15. The method of claim 12, the interface screen comprising at least one form element for the third user to select each of the at least one potential counterparties listed and at least one form element for the third user to communicate a message to selected counterparties when selected.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the query is communicated with the user selecting at least one item of market data displayed to the third user and the query comprises the market data selected by the third user.

17. A computer implemented method comprising: receiving a plurality of orders for an item from a first user, wherein the plurality of orders comprise a number of a first type of orders, a number of a second type of orders, and a number of a third type of orders; receiving a plurality of orders for the item from a second user, wherein the plurality of orders comprises a number of the first type of orders, a number of a second type of orders, and a third type of orders; receiving from a workstations associated with a third user a query for at least one potential counterparty for an order for the item; determining in response to the query at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item, the at least one potential counterparty comprising at least the first user, based on at least two of the number of the first type of orders, the number of the second type of orders, and the number of the third type of orders from the first user; and communicating a listing comprising the at least one potential counterparty for the third user order.

18. The method of claim 17, comprising determining a number of the first type of orders from the first user that have been executed and determining a number of the first type of orders from the second user that have been executed, wherein the at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item is further determined based on the numbers of the first type of orders from each of the first user and the second user.

19. The method of claim 17, comprising: determining a composite score for the first user based on the number of the first, second, and third types of orders from the first user; and determining a composite score for the second user based on the number of the first, second, and third types of orders from the second user, wherein the at least one potential counterparty for the third party user's order for the item is further determined based on the composite score of each of the first user and the second user.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the first type of orders comprises at least one of bids and offers for the item, the second type of orders comprises at least one of requests for quotes and quotes, and the third type of orders comprises indications of interests.

Description:

This Application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/882,905, filed Dec. 30, 2006, entitled “Methods and Systems for Managing and Trading Using A Shared Order Book as Internal Exchange”, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates a system according to at least one embodiment of the systems disclosed herein;

FIG. 2 illustrates a method according to at least one embodiment of the methods disclosed herein; and

FIGS. 3-10 illustrate interface screens and tables for use with at least one of the methods and systems disclosed herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following sections I-X provide a guide to interpreting the present application.

I. Terms

The following sections I-X provide a guide to interpreting the present application.

The term “product” means any machine, manufacture and/or composition of matter, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “process” means any process, algorithm, method or the like, unless expressly specified otherwise.

Each process (whether called a method, algorithm or otherwise) inherently includes one or more steps, and therefore all references to a “step” or “steps” of a process have an inherent antecedent basis in the mere recitation of the term ‘process’ or a like term. Accordingly, any reference in a claim to a ‘step’ or ‘steps’ of a process has sufficient antecedent basis.

The term “invention” and the like mean “the one or more inventions disclosed in this application”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The terms “an embodiment”, “embodiment”, “embodiments”, “the embodiment”, “the embodiments”, “one or more embodiments”, “some embodiments”, “certain embodiments”, “one embodiment”, “another embodiment” and the like mean “one or more (but not all) embodiments of the disclosed invention(s)”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “variation” of an invention means an embodiment of the invention, unless expressly specified otherwise.

A reference to “another embodiment” in describing an embodiment does not imply that the referenced embodiment is mutually exclusive with another embodiment (e.g., an embodiment described before the referenced embodiment), unless expressly specified otherwise.

The terms “including”, “comprising” and variations thereof mean “including but not limited to”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The terms “a”, “an” and “the” mean “one or more”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “plurality” means “two or more”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The term “herein” means “in the present application, including anything which may be incorporated by reference”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

The phrase “at least one of”, when such phrase modifies a plurality of things (such as an enumerated list of things) means any combination of one or more of those things, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the phrase “at least one of a widget, a car and a wheel” means either (i) a widget, (ii) a car, (iii) a wheel, (iv) a widget and a car, (v) a widget and a wheel, (vi) a car and a wheel, or (vii) a widget, a car and a wheel. The phrase “at least one of”, when such phrase modifies a plurality of things does not mean “one of each of” the plurality of things.

Numerical terms such as “one”, “two”, etc. when used as cardinal numbers to indicate quantity of something (e.g., one widget, two widgets), mean the quantity indicated by that numerical term, but do not mean at least the quantity indicated by that numerical term. For example, the phrase “one widget” does not mean “at least one widget”, and therefore the phrase “one widget” does not cover, e.g., two widgets.

The phrase “based on” does not mean “based only on”, unless expressly specified otherwise. In other words, the phrase “based on” describes both “based only on” and “based at least on”. The phrase “based at least on” is equivalent to the phrase “based at least in part on”.

The term “represent” and like terms are not exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the term “represents” do not mean “represents only”, unless expressly specified otherwise. In other words, the phrase “the data represents a credit card number” describes both “the data represents only a credit card number” and “the data represents a credit card number and the data also represents something else”.

The term “whereby” is used herein only to precede a clause or other set of words that express only the intended result, objective or consequence of something that is previously and explicitly recited. Thus, when the term “whereby” is used in a claim, the clause or other words that the term “whereby” modifies do not establish specific further limitations of the claim or otherwise restricts the meaning or scope of the claim.

The term “e.g.” and like terms mean “for example”, and thus does not limit the term or phrase it explains. For example, in the sentence “the computer sends data (e.g., instructions, a data structure) over the Internet”, the term “e.g.” explains that “instructions” are an example of “data” that the computer may send over the Internet, and also explains that “a data structure” is an example of “data” that the computer may send over the Internet. However, both “instructions” and “a data structure” are merely examples of “data”, and other things besides “instructions” and “a data structure” can be “data”.

The term “respective” and like terms mean “taken individually”. Thus if two or more things have “respective” characteristics, then each such thing has its own characteristic, and these characteristics can be different from each other but need not be. For example, the phrase “each of two machines has a respective function” means that the first such machine has a function and the second such machine has a function as well. The function of the first machine may or may not be the same as the function of the second machine.

The term “i.e.” and like terms mean “that is”, and thus limits the term or phrase it explains. For example, in the sentence “the computer sends data (i.e., instructions) over the Internet”, the term “i.e.” explains that “instructions” are the “data” that the computer sends over the Internet.

Any given numerical range shall include whole and fractions of numbers within the range. For example, the range “1 to 10” shall be interpreted to specifically include whole numbers between 1 and 10 (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, . . . 9) and non-whole numbers (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, . . . 1.9).

Where two or more terms or phrases are synonymous (e.g., because of an explicit statement that the terms or phrases are synonymous), instances of one such term/phrase does not mean instances of another such term/phrase must have a different meaning. For example, where a statement renders the meaning of “including” to be synonymous with “including but not limited to”, the mere usage of the phrase “including but not limited to” does not mean that the term “including” means something other than “including but not limited to”.

II. Determining

The term “determining” and grammatical variants thereof (e.g., to determine a price, determining a value, determine an object which meets a certain criterion) is used in an extremely broad sense. The term “determining” encompasses a wide variety of actions and therefore “determining” can include calculating, computing, processing, deriving, investigating, looking up (e.g., looking up in a table, a database or another data structure), ascertaining and the like. Also, “determining” can include receiving (e.g., receiving information), accessing (e.g., accessing data in a memory) and the like. Also, “determining” can include resolving, selecting, choosing, establishing, and the like.

The term “determining” does not imply certainty or absolute precision, and therefore “determining” can include estimating, extrapolating, predicting, guessing and the like.

The term “determining” does not imply that mathematical processing must be performed, and does not imply that numerical methods must be used, and does not imply that an algorithm or process is used.

The term “determining” does not imply that any particular device must be used. For example, a computer need not necessarily perform the determining.

III. Forms of Sentences

Where a limitation of a first claim would cover one of a feature as well as more than one of a feature (e.g., a limitation such as “at least one widget” covers one widget as well as more than one widget), and where in a second claim that depends on the first claim, the second claim uses a definite article “the” to refer to the limitation (e.g., “the widget”), this does not imply that the first claim covers only one of the feature, and this does not imply that the second claim covers only one of the feature (e.g., “the widget” can cover both one widget and more than one widget).

When an ordinal number (such as “first”, “second”, “third” and so on) is used as an adjective before a term, that ordinal number is used (unless expressly specified otherwise) merely to indicate a particular feature, such as to distinguish that particular feature from another feature that is described by the same term or by a similar term. For example, a “first widget” may be so named merely to distinguish it from, e.g., a “second widget”. Thus, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers “first” and “second” before the term “widget” does not indicate any other relationship between the two widgets, and likewise does not indicate any other characteristics of either or both widgets. For example, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers “first” and “second” before the term “widget” (1) does not indicate that either widget comes before or after any other in order or location; (2) does not indicate that either widget occurs or acts before or after any other in time; and (3) does not indicate that either widget ranks above or below any other, as in importance or quality. In addition, the mere usage of ordinal numbers does not define a numerical limit to the features identified with the ordinal numbers. For example, the mere usage of the ordinal numbers “first” and “second” before the term “widget” does not indicate that there must be no more than two widgets.

When a single device, article or other product is described herein, more than one device/article (whether or not they cooperate) may alternatively be used in place of the single device/article that is described. Accordingly, the functionality that is described as being possessed by a device may alternatively be possessed by more than one device/article (whether or not they cooperate).

Similarly, where more than one device, article or other product is described herein (whether or not they cooperate), a single device/article may alternatively be used in place of the more than one device or article that is described. For example, a plurality of computer-based devices may be substituted with a single computer-based device. Accordingly, the various functionality that is described as being possessed by more than one device or article may alternatively be possessed by a single device/article.

The functionality and/or the features of a single device that is described may be alternatively embodied by one or more other devices which are described but are not explicitly described as having such functionality/features. Thus, other embodiments need not include the described device itself, but rather can include the one or more other devices which would, in those other embodiments, have such functionality/features.

IV. Disclosed Examples and Terminology Are Not Limiting

Neither the Title (set forth at the beginning of the first page of the present application) nor the Abstract (set forth at the end of the present application) is to be taken as limiting in any way as the scope of the disclosed invention(s). An Abstract has been included in this application merely because an Abstract of not more than 150 words is required under 37 C.F.R. § 1.72(b).

The title of the present application and headings of sections provided in the present application are for convenience only, and are not to be taken as limiting the disclosure in any way.

Numerous embodiments are described in the present application, and are presented for illustrative purposes only. The described embodiments are not, and are not intended to be, limiting in any sense. The presently disclosed invention(s) are widely applicable to numerous embodiments, as is readily apparent from the disclosure. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the disclosed invention(s) may be practiced with various modifications and alterations, such as structural, logical, software, and electrical modifications. Although particular features of the disclosed invention(s) may be described with reference to one or more particular embodiments and/or drawings, it should be understood that such features are not limited to usage in the one or more particular embodiments or drawings with reference to which they are described, unless expressly specified otherwise.

No embodiment of method steps or product elements described in the present application constitutes the invention claimed herein, or is essential to the invention claimed herein, or is coextensive with the invention claimed herein, except where it is either expressly stated to be so in this specification or expressly recited in a claim.

The preambles of the claims that follow recite purposes, benefits and possible uses of the claimed invention only and do not limit the claimed invention.

The present disclosure is not a literal description of all embodiments of the invention(s). Also, the present disclosure is not a listing of features of the invention(s) which must be present in all embodiments.

Devices that are described as in communication with each other need not be in continuous communication with each other, unless expressly specified otherwise. On the contrary, such devices need only transmit to each other as necessary or desirable, and may actually refrain from exchanging data most of the time. For example, a machine in communication with another machine via the Internet may not transmit data to the other machine for long period of time (e.g. weeks at a time). In addition, devices that are in communication with each other may communicate directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries.

A description of an embodiment with several components or features does not imply that all or even any of such components/features are required. On the contrary, a variety of optional components are described to illustrate the wide variety of possible embodiments of the present invention(s). Unless otherwise specified explicitly, no component/feature is essential or required.

Although process steps, algorithms or the like may be described or claimed in a particular sequential order, such processes may be configured to work in different orders. In other words, any sequence or order of steps that may be explicitly described or claimed does not necessarily indicate a requirement that the steps be performed in that order. The steps of processes described herein may be performed in any order possible. Further, some steps may be performed simultaneously despite being described or implied as occurring non-simultaneously (e.g., because one step is described after the other step). Moreover, the illustration of a process by its depiction in a drawing does not imply that the illustrated process is exclusive of other variations and modifications thereto, does not imply that the illustrated process or any of its steps are necessary to the invention(s), and does not imply that the illustrated process is preferred.

Although a process may be described as including a plurality of steps, that does not imply that all or any of the steps are preferred, essential or required. Various other embodiments within the scope of the described invention(s) include other processes that omit some or all of the described steps. Unless otherwise specified explicitly, no step is essential or required.

Although a process may be described singly or without reference to other products or methods, in an embodiment the process may interact with other products or methods. For example, such interaction may include linking one business model to another business model. Such interaction may be provided to enhance the flexibility or desirability of the process.

Although a product may be described as including a plurality of components, aspects, qualities, characteristics and/or features, that does not indicate that any or all of the plurality are preferred, essential or required. Various other embodiments within the scope of the described invention(s) include other products that omit some or all of the described plurality.

An enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are mutually exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. Likewise, an enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are comprehensive of any category, unless expressly specified otherwise. For example, the enumerated list “a computer, a laptop, a PDA” does not imply that any or all of the three items of that list are mutually exclusive and does not imply that any or all of the three items of that list are comprehensive of any category.

An enumerated list of items (which may or may not be numbered) does not imply that any or all of the items are equivalent to each other or readily substituted for each other.

All embodiments are illustrative, and do not imply that the invention or any embodiments were made or performed, as the case may be.

V. Computing

It will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the various processes described herein may be implemented by, e.g., appropriately programmed general purpose computers, special purpose computers and computing devices. Typically a processor (e.g., one or more microprocessors, one or more microcontrollers, one or more digital signal processors) will receive instructions (e.g., from a memory or like device), and execute those instructions, thereby performing one or more processes defined by those instructions. Instructions may be embodied in, e.g., one or more computer programs, one or more scripts.

A “processor” means one or more microprocessors, central processing units (CPUs), computing devices, microcontrollers, digital signal processors, or like devices or any combination thereof, regardless of the architecture (e.g., chip-level multiprocessing/multi-core, RISC, CISC, Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages, pipelining configuration, simultaneous multithreading).

Thus a description of a process is likewise a description of an apparatus for performing the process. The apparatus that performs the process can include, e.g., a processor and those input devices and output devices that are appropriate to perform the process.

Further, programs that implement such methods (as well as other types of data) may be stored and transmitted using a variety of media (e.g., computer readable media) in a number of manners. In some embodiments, hard-wired circuitry or custom hardware may be used in place of, or in combination with, some or all of the software instructions that can implement the processes of various embodiments. Thus, various combinations of hardware and software may be used instead of software only.

The term “computer-readable medium” refers to any medium, a plurality of the same, or a combination of different media, that participate in providing data (e.g., instructions, data structures) which may be read by a computer, a processor or a like device. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media include, for example, optical or magnetic disks and other persistent memory. Volatile media include dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which typically constitutes the main memory. Transmission media include coaxial cables, copper wire and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise a system bus coupled to the processor. Transmission media may include or convey acoustic waves, light waves and electromagnetic emissions, such as those generated during radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) data communications. Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, any other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, DVD, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, a PROM, an EPROM, a FLASH-EEPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave as described hereinafter, or any other medium from which a computer can read.

Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying data (e.g. sequences of instructions) to a processor. For example, data may be (i) delivered from RAM to a processor; (ii) carried over a wireless transmission medium; (iii) formatted and/or transmitted according to numerous formats, standards or protocols, such as Ethernet (or IEEE 802.3), SAP, ATP, Bluetooth™, and TCP/IP, TDMA, CDMA, and 3G; and/or (iv) encrypted to ensure privacy or prevent fraud in any of a variety of ways well known in the art.

Thus a description of a process is likewise a description of a computer-readable medium storing a program for performing the process. The computer-readable medium can store (in any appropriate format) those program elements which are appropriate to perform the method.

Just as the description of various steps in a process does not indicate that all the described steps are required, embodiments of an apparatus include a computer/computing device operable to perform some (but not necessarily all) of the described process.

Likewise, just as the description of various steps in a process does not indicate that all the described steps are required, embodiments of a computer-readable medium storing a program or data structure include a computer-readable medium storing a program that, when executed, can cause a processor to perform some (but not necessarily all) of the described process.

Where databases are described, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that (i) alternative database structures to those described may be readily employed, and (ii) other memory structures besides databases may be readily employed. Any illustrations or descriptions of any sample databases presented herein are illustrative arrangements for stored representations of information. Any number of other arrangements may be employed besides those suggested by, e.g., tables illustrated in drawings or elsewhere. Similarly, any illustrated entries of the databases represent exemplary information only; one of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the number and content of the entries can be different from those described herein. Further, despite any depiction of the databases as tables, other formats (including relational databases, object-based models and/or distributed databases) could be used to store and manipulate the data types described herein. Likewise, object methods or behaviors of a database can be used to implement various processes, such as the described herein. In addition, the databases may, in a known manner, be stored locally or remotely from a device which accesses data in such a database.

Various embodiments can be configured to work in a network environment including a computer that is in communication (e.g., via a communications network) with one or more devices. The computer may communicate with the devices directly or indirectly, via any wired or wireless medium (e.g. the Internet, LAN, WAN or Ethernet, Token Ring, a telephone line, a cable line, a radio channel, an optical communications line, commercial on-line service providers, bulletin board systems, a satellite communications link, a combination of any of the above). Each of the devices may themselves comprise computers or other computing devices, such as those based on the Intel® Pentium® or Centrino™ processor, that are adapted to communicate with the computer. Any number and type of devices may be in communication with the computer

In an embodiment, a server computer or centralized authority may not be necessary or desirable. For example, the present invention may, in an embodiment, be practiced on one or more devices without a central authority. In such an embodiment, any functions described herein as performed by the server computer or data described as stored on the server computer may instead be performed by or stored on one or more such devices.

Where a process is described, in an embodiment the process may operate without any user intervention. In another embodiment, the process includes some human intervention (e.g., a step is performed by or with the assistance of a human).

VI. Continuing Applications

The present disclosure provides, to one of ordinary skill in the art, an enabling description of several embodiments and/or inventions. Some of these embodiments and/or inventions may not be claimed in the present application, but may nevertheless be claimed in one or more continuing applications that claim the benefit of priority of the present application.

Applicants intend to file additional applications to pursue patents for subject matter that has been disclosed and enabled but not claimed in the present application.

VII. 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6

In a claim, a limitation of the claim which includes the phrase “means for” or the phrase “step for” means that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, applies to that limitation.

In a claim, a limitation of the claim which does not include the phrase “means for” or the phrase “step for” means that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6 does not apply to that limitation, regardless of whether that limitation recites a function without recitation of structure, material or acts for performing that function. For example, in a claim, the mere use of the phrase “step of” or the phrase “steps of” in referring to one or more steps of the claim or of another claim does not mean that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, applies to that step(s).

With respect to a means or a step for performing a specified function in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, the corresponding structure, material or acts described in the specification, and equivalents thereof, may perform additional functions as well as the specified function.

Computers, processors, computing devices and like products are structures that can perform a wide variety of functions. Such products can be operable to perform a specified function by executing one or more programs, such as a program stored in a memory device of that product or in a memory device which that product accesses. Unless expressly specified otherwise, such a program need not be based on any particular algorithm, such as any particular algorithm that might be disclosed in the present application. It is well known to one of ordinary skill in the art that a specified function may be implemented via different algorithms, and any of a number of different algorithms would be a mere design choice for carrying out the specified function.

Therefore, with respect to a means or a step for performing a specified function in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6, structure corresponding to a specified function includes any product programmed to perform the specified function. Such structure includes programmed products which perform the function, regardless of whether such product is programmed with (i) a disclosed algorithm for performing the function, (ii) an algorithm that is similar to a disclosed algorithm, or (iii) a different algorithm for performing the function.

Where there is recited a means for performing a function hat is a method, one structure for performing this method includes a computing device (e.g., a general purpose computer) that is programmed and/or configured with appropriate hardware to perform that function.

Also includes a computing device (e.g., a general purpose computer) that is programmed and/or configured with appropriate hardware to perform that function via other algorithms as would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art.

VIII. Disclaimer

Numerous references to a particular embodiment does not indicate a disclaimer or disavowal of additional, different embodiments, and similarly references to the description of embodiments which all include a particular feature does not indicate a disclaimer or disavowal of embodiments which do not include that particular feature. A clear disclaimer or disavowal in the present application shall be prefaced by the phrase “does not include” or by the phrase “cannot perform”.

IX. Incorporation By Reference

Any patent, patent application or other document referred to herein is incorporated by reference into this patent application as part of the present disclosure, but only for purposes of written description in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 1 and enablement in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 1, and should in no way be used to limit, define, or otherwise construe any term of the present application where the present application, without such incorporation by reference, would not have failed to provide an ascertainable meaning, but rather would have allowed an ascertainable meaning for such term to be provided. Thus, the person of ordinary skill in the art need not have been in any way limited by any embodiments provided in the reference

Any incorporation by reference does not, in and of itself, imply any endorsement of, ratification of or acquiescence in any statements, opinions, arguments or characterizations contained in any incorporated patent, patent application or other document, unless explicitly specified otherwise in this patent application.

X. Prosecution History

In interpreting the present application (which includes the claims), one of ordinary skill in the art shall refer to the prosecution history of the present application, but not to the prosecution history of any other patent or patent application, regardless of whether there are other patent applications that are considered related to the present application, and regardless of whether there are other patent applications that share a claim of priority with the present application.

XI. Overview of Various Embodiments

Referring to FIG. 1, a system 100 according to at least one embodiment of the systems disclosed herein includes at least one computing device, such as a remote computer 106, 108, e.g., a server computer, a client computer 102, 104, or a combination thereof. The term remote in this context merely means that the remote computer 106, 108 and at least one of the client computers 102, 104 are separate devices. Thus, the devices may be remote even if they are located within the same room. In at least one embodiment, the system includes at least one internal exchange computer 106 that is connected over a communication network 110 to one or a plurality of internal client computers 102 and at least one external exchange computer 108. The external exchange computer 108 may further be connected to an external client computer 104. One or more of the internal client computers 102 may be connected to the internal exchange computer 106 through a firewall.

The system 100 may be implemented over any type of communications network 110, such as a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), the Internet, a telephone network (POTS), a wireless network, including cellular, WiFi, and WiMax networks, or a combination of wired and/or wireless networks. In certain instances, the communications network 110 may be independent of the Internet or limited with respect to the type of the information transmitted over the Internet, such as to information that poses little or no security risk if misappropriated or that has been encrypted.

In the networked embodiment, internal client computers 102 are preferably configured or otherwise capable of transmitting and/or receiving communications to and/or from the internal exchange computer 106. This may be accomplished with a communication element, such as a modem, an Ethernet interface, a transmitter/receiver, etc., that enables communication with a similarly equipped internal exchange computer 106, wirelessly, wired, or a combination thereof. It is understood that the relative functionality described herein may be provided by the exchange computer 106, by the client computer 102, or both, and is thus not limited to any particular one of the implementations discussed herein. In at least one embodiment, the client computers 102 will generally provide the front-end functionality and the internal exchange computer 106 will provide the back-end functionality.

The term internal and external generally denote belonging to one of two groups. One belongs to an internal group if one or more criteria are satisfied that define the internal group. One belongs to the external group if the one or more criteria are not satisfied. Various types of criteria may define the internal group, including memberships or affiliations. Grouping may also be hardware specific as well as individual specific. For instance, the internal group may include some or all employees of a company, members of an organization, or members of any other collective. Similarly, the internal group may include all individuals authorized to access the functionality of the system 100 as described herein. For example, the internal group may include all equity derivative traders of a company or equity derivative traders that subscribe to the trading services provided by the company. Alternatively or additionally, the internal group may include all equity derivative traders authorized to access the backend functionality provided by the internal exchange computer 106. Although various embodiments may be described herein in relation to equity derivatives, it is understood that the methods and systems disclosed herein are equally applicable to other types of financial instruments as well as non-financial instrument items and is thus not limited thereto. The term “financial instrument” denotes any instrument, issued by a corporation, government, or any other entity, that evinces dept or equity, and any derivative thereof, including stocks, bonds, debentures, certificates of interest or deposit, warrants, options, futures, forwards, swaps, or generally any security. The methods and systems disclosed herein may be used, for example, in a gaming environment for finding opposing parties or teammates for game play in various networked or non-networked casino and non-casino type games.

The computing device, e.g., the client computers 102, 104 and/or the remote computers 106, 108, generally include at least one processor, and a memory, such as ROM, RAM, FLASH, etc., or any computer readable medium, such as a hard drive, a flash-drive, an optical or magnetic disk, etc. The memory or computer readable medium preferably includes software stored thereon that when executed performs one or more steps of the methods disclosed herein, including communicating data and commands back and forth between the computers, displaying interface screens, etc. The computers may also be associated with or have access to one or more databases 114, 116 for retrieving and/or storing the various types of data discussed herein, including identity verification data, such as an ID and password, biometric data, etc., internal and/or external trade/order and market data, account data, communication preferences, templates, professed interest, historic data, user preferences, etc.

The client computers 102, 104 may include, without limitation, a mobile phone, PDA, pocket PC, personal computer, as well as any special or other general purpose computing device. As such, the client computer 102, 104 preferably includes a processor, a memory, a display, such as a CRT or an LCD monitor, for displaying information and/or graphics associated with the functionality provided by the system 100, and at least one input device, such as a mouse, a touch-sensitive pad, a pointer, a stylus, a trackball, a button or a plurality of buttons, e.g., alphanumeric, a scroll wheel, a touch-sensitive monitor, etc., or a combination thereof, for users to enter commands and/or information relevant to the system's functionality. With the general purpose type of client computer 102, 104, such as the PC or PDA, users may access the functionality provided by the system 100 with a browser application or any other generic application, or with special purpose software designed specifically for accessing the functionality disclosed herein.

In at least one embodiment, the client computer 102, 104 includes or is otherwise associated with at least one biometric sensor 118. The biometric sensor 118 is any device that is used to determine directly from the user at least one item of biometric data associated with a user, such as a fingerprint reader, an iris scanner, a retinal scanner, a vascular pattern reader, a facial recognition camera, etc. The biometric sensor 118 may be embodied in hardware, software, or a combination thereof. The biometric sensor 118 may further share resources with other components of the client computer 102, 104, such as the processor, memory, a camera, a microphone, a speaker, etc. A single biometric sensor 118 may be used for reading more than one type of biometric data. For example, a digital camera may be used to obtain an image of the user's eye for iris scanning and an image of the user's face for facial recognition. In this instance, a single image capture of the user's face may provide the data for facial recognition as well as data for iris or retinal comparisons.

The biometric data is generally obtained with the biometric sensor 118 and used at least to authenticate the identity of the user as a gateway for allowing the user to access the system's functionality. In this regard, biometric data may be compared with previously obtained/stored biometric data that has preferably been verified as being associated with a particular user and access to the system's functionality may be provided based on a positive match thereof.

In at least one embodiment, the system 100 provides functions relevant to trading financial instruments or other items in one or a plurality of exchanges, such as an internal exchange, e.g., an over the counter (OTC) exchange, and an external exchange, e.g., a public exchange, an external (OTC) exchange, an electronic communication network (ECN), etc. The internal exchange generally includes or otherwise supports at least one or a plurality of the internal markets. In this respect, the system 100 allows users, such as traders, brokers, dealers, customers, market makers, etc., to access market data and submit orders to the internal and/or the external exchange using at least one client computer 102, 104. The term orders as used herein includes actual orders, such as bids, offers, buys, sells, requests for quotes (RFQs), quotes, etc., and indications of interest (IOIs), etc. It is understood that a user may be acting in a principal or agency capacity. Therefore, the acts disclosed herein as being performed by a user, include acts of the principle and acts of the agent. For example, when referring to a user submitting an IOI, this includes a broker submitting an IOI for a customer as well as the customer submitting the IOI on his own behalf.

An indication of interest (IOI) includes any expression indicating that the submitting party or a customer thereof is interested in an item, which generally includes any communication relating to a traded item that is not a quote, a buy, sell, bid, or offer. An IOI therefore specifies at least one trading variable, such as the item name or symbol, whether a buy side or sell interest, the size of the interest, the price, etc. IOIs differ from actual orders in that the IOI is not a firm order, just an indication of one. In certain instances, IOIs may be missing at least one of the trading variables. For example, an IOI may specify an item name, symbol, or description, e.g., IBM. In this instance, the IOI indicates broadly that a user is interested in IBM without any indication whether the user is interested in buying or selling, the price, or the size of the interest. The IOI does not even need to identify any specific item. Rather, the IOI may identify items by type or any other common data item between the items. For example, a user may submit an IOI that indicates an interest to buy or sell derivatives on large cap underlyiers.

Referring to FIG. 2, in at least one embodiment, the system 100 generally receives orders (internal and/or external) at 210 and stores the orders at 212 in one or more databases to provide a shared order book. The system 100 may also receive and store at 214 external data related to orders, such as news regarding trading activity for particular items. The system 100 may group orders for particular items, e.g., financial instruments, to create a market for each item that includes at least one order for the item. The system may also cause an interface screen to be displayed, such as the market display screen shown in FIG. 3, e.g. at the client computer 102, with the relevant market data included therein. The market for each item may be managed or worked by users on a manual, a semi-automatic, or an automated exchange. That is, orders may be executed with the system at 216, either automatically and/or manually.

Data from steps 210-216 generally provide at least a portion of the information for identifying potential counterparties for an order for one or more items as discussed herein. Various types of data may be maintained in this respect, such as the item name and/or symbol, size, price, execution data and/or time, posting date and/or time, buyer/seller name and/or identification number, account numbers, order type, etc., for orders submitted to and for trades executed with the system 100, and data derived therefrom. This data, as well as other data that may be indicative of an interest in trading particular items, may be used to identify potential counterparties, preferably as orders are being entered into the system or in response to a query for such identification.

In at least one embodiment, the system maintains for each user, e.g., trader, dealer, broker, etc., a record in at least one database that includes at least one of: the user name, contact information, a user ID, e.g., a dealer or trader ID, an internal desk ID, and one or more communications addresses, e.g., voice, fax, e-mail, instant message (IM), financial information eXchange (FIX) protocol, execution management system (EMS), and associations with other users, traders, and/or customers. In instances where the user trades on behalf of a customer, each customer has a record in at least one database that includes at least one of: the customer name, contact information, a customer ID, and account details, e.g., firm name, address, account #s, traders/dealers associated with the customer, etc., and optionally additional records linked to it as sub-accounts. One or more databases may also be maintained that associates the users and/or customers with one or more groups or sectors. The system 100 may further store user communication preferences that specify the manner in which users are presented with trading opportunities, such as by phone call, email, IM, fax, etc. The system may also maintain at least one database with order/trade history and position data stored therein for users and/or their customers.

In one embodiment, internal traders, e.g., dealer/broker, have a record in a Trader Master database with a unique trader ID, internal desk ID, and communications addresses, such as voice, fax, e-mail, IM, FIX, EMS, etc. addresses, specified, as shown in FIG. 6. Customers may also have a record in the Customer Master database with unique customer ID and master account details, e.g., firm name, address, account #s, and optionally additional records linked to it as sub-accounts, as shown in FIG. 7. Traders associated with customers may also have a record in the Trader Master database with a unique trader ID, a customer ID, e.g., for the customer they trade for, communications addresses and preferences, e.g., voice, fax, e-mail, IM, FIX, EMS, etc., and one or more internal trader IDs used to indicate the internal trader, e.g., dealer/broker, who covers that trader associated with a customer. Customer records in the Customer Master database may have one or more trader records in the Trader Master linked by unique customer ID representing the customer's traders. Every private/public exchange, montage, ECN, and/or feed represented in the system may also have a record in the Customer Master database with a unique customer ID and master account details, and a record in the Trader Master database with a unique trader ID, communications addresses, and preferences linked by the unique customer ID to the Customer Master database/record in order to represent the source of, e.g., an order, quote, price, trades, or any other data, from a private/public exchange's, montage's, ECN's, or feed's data.

An interest matrix may be derived that crosses the records from the one or more of the databases discussed above. In one embodiment, the interest matrix is maintained which crosses the Customer Master and Trader Master databases. In another or the same embodiment, the interest matrix crosses one or both the Customer Master and Trader Master databases with a Security Master database, which includes data such as sector and group classifications for particular users and/or customers, professed interest in various securities, security types, sectors, groups, trade/order history, etc., as shown in FIG. 8. Thus, the system 100 can access data in the interest matrix to determine or otherwise identify therefrom potential counterparties for, e.g., targeted marketing, based on the professed, historical, or implied interest for the item, e.g., the security, security type, sector, group, etc. For example, the system 100 may identify for a user interested in selling an item a plurality of other users or customers that may be interested in buying the item, e.g., based on a professed interest, historical interest, or on an implied interest from the other users' or customer's order and/or trade history. The system 100 may present to the selling user in this instance a list of the potential counterparties identified. The selling user may thereafter contact one or more of the identified potential counterparties in an effort to sell the item. The system 100 may provide this service anonymously where the identity of each potential counter party is not revealed to other parties. In this instance, communications between the parties may take place within the system 100 using a generic ID for each party.

The databases may be maintained with manual entries of new records and editing of existing records. That is, users, such as dealers, brokers, and traders, may add customer and potential counterparty records, which may include the customer's and potential counterparty communications addresses. An indication may be provided specifying which communications address the customer or potential counterparty prefers to use. In one embodiment, users also specify and associate individual securities, sectors, and/or groups with the user based on the user's interest or coverage.

The interest matrix may also be maintained automatically with regard to data derived from order history, trade history, and user/customer positions. That is, the system 100 may capture automatically indicative, actual, and risk interest data as a user builds and/or works an order or orders. The system 100 may also capture data from order and trade history, and user's position's P&L/risk ratings system tables. Data capture may occur either in real-time or with batch processing. This information may similarly be maintained for any “customer” that is a private/public exchange, montage, ECN, or feed based on its reported trade activity. As each trader's orders and trades are captured in the system this information will be entered automatically.

Therefore, the system 100 can use the interest matrix to search or otherwise find liquidity for an order, and present a list of one or more potential counterparties and private/public exchanges, montages, ECNs, feeds, etc., either in full or limited to an internal trader's coverage, based on their professed or actual interest in that order's security, sector, or group, in order of historical order or trading frequency, volume, or notional. The user may thereafter contact the potential counterparties, at the customer and trader level, or route orders to the appropriate private/public exchange, montage, ECN, feed, etc. The system 100 may also use the interest matrix and a user's trading position to suggest positions for a trade based on that position's P&L/risk rating.

Individual user sessions for access to the relevant functionality of the system 100 may begin with a user logging into the system at 218. That is, a user may login to place one or more orders for execution, view or otherwise access market data for one or more items, and/or query the system 100 for potential counterparties for one or more orders. Login generally entails receiving identification information from the user, such as a login ID, password, biometric data, etc., and verifying therewith that the user is authorized to access the relevant functionality of the system 100.

In at least one embodiment, the system 100 thereafter causes an interface screen to be displayed at 220, such as the interface screens shown in FIGS. 4-5, which includes at least one form element, such as an input field or text box, a drop down list, a check box, a radio button, an action button, a clickable image, a hyperlink, selectable text, etch, for the user to specify or otherwise identify one or more terms of an order for at least one item. The interface screen preferably includes a plurality of form elements for the user to submit some or all of the terms for an order, such as the item name, symbol, size, price, order type, e.g., buy, sell, quote, IOI, etc., closing date, etc. The interface screen may include at least one button or other element that when selected allows the user to query and/or submit an order with the specified term or terms to the system 100. The system 100 receives at 222 the one or more terms for the query and/or the order, and proceeds therefrom to determine if there are any potential counterparties for the order at 224 based on the one or more terms submitted and also based on the interest matrix data.

The system 100 generally identifies potential counterparties from the set or a subset of system users and/or customers based on the likelihood that the particular counterparty will be interested in trading the item or items with the one or more specified terms. That is, the system 100 may determine the likelihood of a successful (e.g., executed) trade based on interest matrix data associated with particular individuals. The interest matrix data generally comprises one or a compilation of items of data indicative of a user's interest in an item, which may include data from a professed interest for an item and/or data from historical interest for an item and/or data that implies an interest in an item. In either event, interest matrix data may include items of data derived from pending orders and non-pending orders.

Professed interest may be derived from an express indication that a user and/or a customer are generally interested in trading an item. For example, a user may indicate an interest in trading derivatives on a particular underlying security, sector, or group. In this instance, the system 100 may identify this individual as a potential counter party for such derivatives. Professed interest may be specified in any one of a variety of ways in addition to the particular item or type of item, including price, strike price, volatility, delta, gamma, sector, group, index, options, futures, particular exchanges, coupon, interest or other rates, etc, or a combination or range thereof. For example, a user may indicate being interested in items priced between 100 and 105. Similarly, the user may indicate being interested in options having prices between 1 and 2 and strike prices between 100 and 105. Professed interest may be stored in a database record that is accessed by the system 100 for determining the user and/or customer's trading interest.

Implied interest may be derived from order history, trade history, and/or a positions, which may include pending orders awaiting execution and non-pending orders that, e.g., expired, executed, cancelled, etc. It is understood that implied interest may be derived from any pattern of trading behavior that would indicate whether the user has a propensity or interest to trade certain items, e.g., securities, structures, sectors, indexes, groups, options, futures, exchanges, etc.

A level of interest may also be derived from the order history, trade history, and/or position data, including statistical data derived therefrom, such as trading frequency, volume, an IOI to completed trade ratio, notional, position profit and loss (P&L)/risk or credit ratings, etc. The historical data may be maintained item specific, item type specific, etc. Therefore, the statistical data may be provided for comparing particular items or types of items. For example, traders having a higher frequency of trading a particular item may be deemed to have a higher level of interest and thus a higher probability of trading the item than one that trades less frequently or one that only professes an interest to trade the item. Traders having a history of trading the particular item may also be deemed to have a higher level of interest than ones that have not traded that particular item but have history of trading that type of item. Moreover, traders with history with the party submitting an order may be deemed to have a higher priority. Interest may also be implied based on a user position's P&L and/or risk or credit rating. That is, a user's position P&L/risk or credit rating for a particular item may indicate wither or not the user may be interested or otherwise capable of trading the particular item. For example, the system may determine that a user holding an asset for greater than one year at a profit may be much more willing to trade the asset than a user that has been holding the asset for a lesser period of time.

Alternatively or in addition, interest maybe implied and a level of interest derived therefrom from the quality or tradability of individual orders/trades. Quality or tradability may generally differ between different types of orders and at times between orders of the same type. Generally, firm orders have a greater tradability than non-firm orders. For example, bids and offers may be deemed more tradable than IOIs. Similarly, firm bids or offers that are not subject to cancellation may be deemed to have a greater tradability than other bids and offers, and IOIs with more trading variables specified may be deemed more tradable than IOIs with less trading variables specified. Moreover, certain trading variables may provide greater assurance as to tradability and thus may distinguish IOIs based on the inclusion or exclusion thereof. For example, IOIs with a price may be deemed to have greater tradability than IOIs with a size specified. Tradability may also be based on time or expiration time of the IOI. That is, newer orders may be deemed to have a greater tradability than older orders, and IOIs may be specified to expire after an elapsed time. For example, IOIs placed later in the trading day may be deemed more tradable than IOIs placed earlier. Tradability may be represented on any scale, linear or otherwise. For example, tradability may be represented on a numerical scale, e.g., 1 to 10, with larger numbers indicating better quality or tradability than smaller numbers. 0 may be used to indicate uninterested. A sample tradability classification scheme is shown in Table A below. In this respect, a higher tradeability generally implies a greater interest in the subject item.

TABLE A
ScoreOrder
10Firm Orders
9Bids, Offers
8Quotes/RFQs
7IOIs w/Name, Side, and Size
6IOIs w/1 Variable Missing
5IOI w/Name and Side
4IOIs w/2 Variable Missing
3IOIs w/Name Only
2IOIs w/3 Variable Missing
1IOI w/No Variables

Tradability may also reflect historic data for the particular user submitting the order. For example, bids and offers from potential counterparties having a history of trading the subject item at the size specified in the order may be elevated to a higher level, e.g., from a 2 to one. Similarly, the lack of a trading history and frequent cancellations may lower the tradability score. It is understood that any classification scheme may be implemented to indicate the quality or tradability of an order and is thus not limited to any one particular scheme. Additionally, factors may be applied to increase or decrease the tradeability level. For instance, a time factor may be applied to decrease the tradeability based on the timing of the order in relation to the then present time. For example, the tradeability of orders placed greater than a week ago may be reduced by a factor of 0.9, orders greater than two weeks by a factor of 0.8, etc. Similarly, a user history factor may be applied to increase or decrease the tradeability level, e.g., to reflect previous positive and negative experiences between the requesting user and the potential counterparty. For example, orders originating from potential counterparties with successful trading history with the requesting user may be increased by 10% whereas unsuccessful trading history may result in a decrease of 10% or greater based on the severity of the prior bad experience.

The tradeability level of a plurality of individual orders may be used to compute a composite score to rate certain types of orders. For example, a composite score, e.g., an average, weighted average, etc., may be computed for all IOIs for an item in the past year or year to date based on the tradeability of individual orders within that time period. A composite score may also be computed for individual potential counterparties for comparison against other potential counterparties. In this respect, the composite score may be based on a plurality of data types in the interest matrix. For example, a composite score for a potential counterparty may be computed based on the number of trades and the number of bids and offers, or any other data types. Certain data types may have greater weight than others, e.g., based on the tradeability of the order types. For example, executed trades may have a greater weight than offers. The composite score may also be factored as discussed above.

The potential counterparties identified by the system 100 may be presented to the requesting user at 226, e.g., in an interface screen, such as the interface screens shown in FIGS. 4-5, preferably in an order indicative of the level of interest or likelihood in trading the item. As can be appreciated, the probability that a trade may result with the potential counterparty may range from 0 to 100%. As can also be appreciated, the number of user/customers populating the interest matrix may result in a relatively large number of potential counterparties. Accordingly, in at least one embodiment, the system 100 limits the number of potential counterparties communicated to the requesting user to a manageable level and/or one having a high probability of resulting in a trade. That is, the system 100 may limit the list to a predetermined number of counterparties, e.g., no more than 10. Similarly, the system 100 may limit the number to those satisfying certain criteria, such as having a greater than 90% probability of being interested or otherwise resulting in a trade. The criteria may further be specific with respect to any of the professed or implied interest data or a combination thereof. For example, the system 100 may limit the list to those that have actually traded the desired item one or more times within a defined period of time. The standard may be relaxed in that the list may be limited to those that at a minimum traded a similar type of item one or more times in the same or another defined period of time. The list may be limited in this respect based on user specified criteria stored, e.g., in a user profile. The user may similarly limit the list of potential counterparties to those that have traded with the user in the past.

In at least one embodiment, the user receiving the list of identified potential counterparties may be provided with the ability to select one or more of the potential counterparties for targeted communication. For example, the potential counterparties may be displayed in a list with checkboxes or other form elements for the user to select one or more of the potential counterparties. The system 100 may receive the selection at 228 and transmit the communication at 230 to the selected potential counterparty in accordance with the communication preferences of the particular selected potential counterparty, e.g., by phone, email, IM, fax, etc. That is, when searching for liquidity on an order, the system can look up the potential counterparties and/or private/public exchanges, montages, ECNs, feeds, etc. and use the trader's or potential counterparties' communications preferences to, e.g., present information for voice calls or generate/transmit via fax, e-mail, IM, FIX, or EMS pre-trade RFQ/IOI communications regarding orders. The communication preferences may also be used for post-trade Ad communications regarding trades. This may be done manually for a single counterparty or batched for multiple counterparties. In the case of a private/public exchange, montage, ECN, feed, etc., the trading system can create and send via FIX or other electronic means, as detailed in the parties communications preferences, pre-trade RFCs, RFQs, IOIs, etc., and post-trade Ads/ticket prints as that private/public exchange, montage, ECN, feed, etc. supports.

The system 100 may receive responsive communications from one or more of the potential counterparties at 232 and communicate those to the original user. The responsive communication may be an offer or quote in the event the initial communication was an IOI or RFQ, respectively, or an acceptance in the event that the initial communication was an actionable offer, e.g., a bid, offer, etc. The original user may accept an offer or may send a counter offer. Negotiations may continue back and forth until one of the parties to the communication accepts or opts to drop out of the negotiation.

As noted above, the system 100 may identify relevant exchanges for the order. In this instance, the user may select the desired exchange, montage, ECN, feed, etc., for the order. The system 100 may then generate and send, via FIX or other electronic means, as detailed in their communications preferences, pre-trade RFCs, RFQs, IOIs, and post-trade Ads/ticket prints as that private/public exchange, montage, ECN, feed, etc. supports.

In instances where the original communication results in multiple responsive communications from a plurality of potential counterparties, the system 100 may present all of the resulting communications in an order, e.g., from best to worse. Alternatively, the system 100 may present the resulting communications successively in time order following the completion of any previous communication or negotiation. That is, the system may communicate a first of the plurality of the responsive communications and hold responsive communications received after the first in a queue until the negotiations between the original user and the potential counterparty submitting the first responsive order have ended. Communications resulting in a trade may be executed at step 234 and the databases may be updated accordingly. The system may repeat one or more of the steps recited therein for the current user and for other users.

Referring to FIG. 3, the market interface screen 300 generally includes relevant market data for the item therein, such as a symbol 304, best bid 306, best offer 308, best bid size 310, best offer size 312, as well as prices and sizes for non-best bid and non-best offer orders. IOI type orders may be displayed in the interface screen in accordance with their relevance in the hierarchy of the buy-side and offer-side of the stack relative to the best bid and the best offer. That is, orders may be sorted first based on price, followed by size and later tradeability. Therefore, IOIs that specify a price may be sorted and may appear in the stack mixed with non-IOI orders followed by IOIs that specify a size and not a price then by IOIs that do not specify a price or a size. Orders having a common price and/or size may be sorted based on time received with priority going to the first in time. Market data is preferably presented in real-time. That is, the system 100 may update the order data to reflect real time changes in the market for the item, which may include refreshing the interface screen and/resorting the data therein periodically, such as when orders are added or removed from the market for the item as electronic feeds allow.

Individual items of order data in the order book may be selectable for a user to initiation a trade. That is, users may click, e.g., double click, on a price or size of their own order in the order book or of the BBO to trade at the BBO if already there. That is, clicking on their order converts the order to a market order which may be executed at the BBO price. When a user clicks on the BBO, the user is simply submitting a market order. When a user selects the size, their order is modified to match the size of the selected order. Users may also be able to click on another order and execute a trade with the selected order.

In at least one embodiment, users may be able to grab their order and place it in between any of the orders in the market or drop the order into another order. When dropped between orders, the price of the order will be converted to a price within the spread between the two orders. The price may be, for example, one or more ticks from the best price in the spread, an average between the spread prices, etc. When the order is dropped into an order on the same side, the order being dropped may be converted to match the price and/or the size of the existing order that the order is being dropped into. If the order is dropped into an order on the opposite side, the order being dropped may be converted to match the price and/or size of the existing order and execute a trade therewith. Matching can be either automatic, manually prompted, subject to confirmation, or a combination thereof.

Referring to FIG. 4, an interface screen for presenting users with a list of potential counterparties according to one embodiment includes therein at least one item of market data as discussed above. The item of market data may then be used to query the system 100 for potential counterparties for an order with the selected market data as a term for the order. For example, selecting the BP symbol may result in a list of all potential counterparties to the BP item. The list may appear in a pop-up window with form elements therein for selecting individual potential counterparties for targeted communications. The display may use formatting and/or highlighting to indicate whether there is a buy side or a sell side propensity, e.g., bold for buy and underline for sell. Alternatively, the list may be separated by buy side and sell side potential counterparties. Other market data may provide similar results. For example selecting a size, side, or price, on the buy side of the market display may result in a list of potential counterparties that may be interested in an order for the selected size, side, or price, respectively, of the BP item. The list may similarly identify buy vs. sell side propensity with highlighting or only show one side, e.g., the opposite side to the selected term. Multiple terms may be selected as shown. In one embodiment, this is done by drawing a line connecting terms, such as size and price. Particular users may also be selected in which instance the system 100 may display a list of items that the selected user may be interested in trading, similarly based on professed and implied interests therein. In at least one embodiment, the system 100 allows users to select one or a plurality of the potential counterparties and display the interest matrix associated with each of the selected users or a portion thereof, e.g., the composite or an overall score.

Referring to FIG. 5, an interface screen for presenting users with a list of potential counterparties according to one embodiment includes therein at least one form element for the user to specify at least one term of a query and/or order. The screen may include an element for the user to specify a customer ID, the name or symbol of the item or item type, the type of interest, e.g., a buy, sell, bid, offer, IOI, etc., the price, size, currency, etc. The system 100 preferably displays, e.g., in a separate window, the list of potential counterparties essentially immediately as the user inputs the data into the interface screen. For example, a user may input the BP symbol in which instance the list of potential counterparties to PB is shown in the separate window. As the user inputs additional data, the system 100 may further refine the list to account for the added data. Highlighting may similarly be used to distinguish the buy side and sell side propensity of the potential counterparties. The popup window and/or interface screen may include a form element, such as a button, for sending orders to the identified/selected potential counterparties.

Referring to FIG. 9, a sample interest matrix for the BP item is depicted. As noted above, the interest matrix may include all types of data that may be indicative of an interest to trade a particular item, including the number of actual trades, bids, offers, RFQs, quotes, IOIs, etc. The interest matrix may also include variables for whether or not the user has any previous trading history with the potential counterparty, whether the potential counterparty has professed an interest, etc. This type of data may be in the form of a factor that is applied to one or more of the order types. The interest matrix may also include a composite or overall score for the item. This as well as other data may be used to populate the list of potential counterparties as discussed above.

Referring to FIG. 10, another sample matrix that is item independent is depicted. That is, the matrix table may include interest related data for multiple items, e.g., securities and/or sectors. In this instance, the interest matrix is across of the Customer and/or Trader Master database(s) with the Security Master database. As can be seen, the interest matrix includes records with trader/customer specific interest data for the specific securities and/or sectors. The matrix may also include the scores discussed above with respect to FIG. 9.

While the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity and understanding, it will be appreciated by one skilled in the art, from a reading of the disclosure, that various changes in form and detail can be made without departing from the true scope of the invention.