US Patent No. 5,715,314 titled “Network Sales System” claims systems and methods that allow a buyer to purchase products online using a computer. Claim 34 describes a network-based sales system in which the buyer adds items to a “shopping cart” that is maintained in the seller’s online database and then receives a message to purchase the products.
Claim 34. A network-based sales system, comprising:
- at least one buyer computer for operation by a user desiring to buy products;
- at least one shopping cart computer; and
- a shopping cart database connected to said shopping cart computer; said buyer computer and said shopping cart computer being interconnected by a computer network;
- said buyer computer being programmed to receive a plurality of requests from a user to add a plurality of respective products to a shopping cart in said shopping cart database, and, in response to said requests to add said products, to send a plurality of respective shopping cart messages to said shopping cart computer each of which comprises a product identifier identifying one of said plurality of products;
- said shopping cart computer being programmed to receive said plurality of shopping cart messages, to modify said shopping cart in said shopping cart database to reflect said plurality of requests to add said plurality of products to said shopping cart, and to cause a payment message associated with said shopping cart to be created; and
- said buyer computer being programmed to receive a request from said user to purchase said plurality of products added to said shopping cart and to cause said payment message to be activated to initiate a payment transaction for said plurality of products added to said shopping cart;
- said shopping cart being a stored representation of a collection of products, said shopping cart database being a database of stored representations of collections of products, and said shopping cart computer being a computer that modifies said stored representations of collections of products in said database.
The filing date of the patent is October 24, 1994.
Is there any prior art that describes using a computer to add items to a shopping cart via a computer network and then purchasing the products? We are particularly interested in sources that describe how the shopping cart feature operated and how the payment message, if any, was sent to the buyer. Any information about online shopping systems from the early 1990's would be helpful.