On Friday (September 5th, 2008) Method has filed its first patent application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office! In fact it is the first and only patent that our company, Alocet Incorporated, has ever filed, and let me tell you, it is quite a process.
What for you ask? Well, if you break method into two parts: the syncing part "Method Integration Engine" and the web platform "Method", the patent is on the syncing part. Specifically, the process by which we devised a way to sync an accounting database, like QuickBooks, with a separate server -hosted, non-accounting database, in real-time.
Most of us, myself included, have never gone through this process. It is quite an experience, and a lot of work going back and forth with a technology-specialized intellectual property guru, hashing out the details and processes of "the invention" in such a way that it can be understood by an outsider. By the end you end up with some 75 pages of processes, claims, diagrams, exhibits.....and quite a headache. :)
For me, because of my personal involvement in the core development of the actual syncing engine, it was a realization of what an amazing feat we have accomplished by creating it. We started it over two years ago, and it has been left fairly untouched for the last year while we shifted more efforts to the platform portion, so I had forgotten about all the challenges and obstacles we faced when creating it.
From an end-user's standpoint you might already take it for granted. You add a customer, or an invoice, or change an item price, etc. and it magically updates QuickBooks instantly (and vice-versa). But the process of finding its way from your browser, wherever you are in the world, through the internet, finding the computer that has QuickBooks on it, and making the appropriate entry into QuickBooks is quite an accomplishment. It's even a lot more complicated that one might perceive with all of its many different moving parts each performing a special function, and all perfectly rigged to follow accounting and QuickBooks specific rules - such as hundreds of little rules like "don't try to add a new invoice until you have added a new customer first".
The syncing process of the Method Integration Engine is a one-of-a-kind accomplishment...and now I am proud to say we have a pending patent to prove for it.
We're off to Dallas next week for the QB Enterprise Solutions conference. I look forward to meeting many of you,