Joining the Patent Parade

In another life, I did some development work on a application that involved extracting data from a faxed image. It was difficult work and the results were surprisingly good, considering the challenges (faxed images are notorious for being of poor quality, being skewed, etc.). As it turned out the work that we did was patentable and, as of May 1, the U.S. patent (#7212301) will be approved.

This is one of those process patents that I've always been surprised that actually qualified. But there was a very experienced attorney saying that it was and, lo and behold, four years later there it is. Please excuse me for a moment of personal pride.


One or more parameters such as time is reported to a center using a form. The center then automatically extracts data from the form and converts it for storage and subsequent processing or review. The form is preferably a physical form, which the sender fills in and then faxes to the center. Image capture, registration, and feature recognition routines are included to enable the center to extract the reported data with no need for data reentry or human intervention. The invention is particularly suitable for employees who need to submit time sheets, expense reports, and the like to an employer, or for automatic analysis of submitted inventory reports, product orders, etc.