Catuity patents efficient smart card memory usage
US-based loyalty software solutions firm, Catuity, has received a 'Notice of Allowance' from the US Patent Office for 26 claims on its application for a patent for a 'Data carrying device, and systems for use therewith'. The patent is expected to be issued by the end of the first quarter 2003.
The newly allowed patent is the foundation Catuity's patent portfolio, broadly covering the efficient use of memory space on smart cards (and other data carrying devices) to store data for multiple applications, and the systems to manage applications, devices and terminals.
"Our strategy is to provide our clients with technology, services and expertise that can enable them to easily and effectively reach their customers for the best possible return on investment," explained Michael Howe, CEO for Catuity, which provides technical and marketing products and services to credit and gift card issuers, merchants, and processors.
How it works According to Howe, the new US patent discloses the use of dynamic memory allocation and memory re-use on smart cards via the use of a static area, a programme index, and an application area.
The use of an index to address application data within a smart card provides much of the core flexibility of Catuity's system as, rather than pre-allocating limited memory space for each application on a smart card, programme specific data can simply be added or removed from the card even after it is issued, as determined by the behaviour of the card holder.
"This is a key benefit of our programme," said Howe. "It allows the programme operator to specifically target a customer's behaviour and reward them in ways that can benefit both the consumer and the incentive provider, whether that's a credit card issuer, the merchant, or the product manufacturer."
Offline programme management The patent also protects the design of Catuity's system for the offline management of multiple applications on smart cards (and other data carrying devices).
The patent details the use of a central host which communicates regularly with a number of remote terminals, to send parameter files and receive transaction files. The remote terminals are loaded with functionally identical software that responds to the received parameter files to control and manage smart card based applications, such as loyalty programmes and electronic tickets.
By encapsulating all the potential programme elements in parameter files, licensees of the system can deploy new programmes and change existing ones without the need to load new software into the remote terminals.