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Communications Networking Patents Technology

USPTO To Review Controversial VoIP Patent 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.
alphadogg writes "The US Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to review a controversial patent issued in 2001 that is claimed to cover much of the technology underlying VoIP. The patent, held by a small company called C2 Communications Technologies, is one of 10 that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been trying to strike down for several years through its Patent Busting Project. On Friday, the patent office granted the EFF's request for a re-examination. The digital civil-liberties organization argued that another applicant had submitted basically some of the same technology to the patent office before C2 did. Patent No. 6,243,373, 'Method and apparatus for implementing a computer network/Internet telephone system,' is credited to David L. Turock as inventor and is owned by C2, previously called Acceris Communications Technologies."
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USPTO To Review Controversial VoIP Patent

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  • Re:Stop the madness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 56 (527333) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:17PM (#31047600)
    This is not meant as a flame - I'm just unclear about what you're saying.

    TCP/IP and its relatives might have been patentable back when Kahn, Cerf and others developed them. But thanks to ARPA, they are in the public domain. Since the general case is addressed, moving generic digital data, is in the public domain, then why are specific subsets of this technology patentable?

    As I understand it, this line of reasoning could be used to argue that, since the alphabet is public domain, all other uses of that alphabet should also be public domain. If that's what you mean, then I disagree.

    Am I misunderstanding your argument?

  • Re:Stop the madness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:47PM (#31047812) Homepage

    More along the lines that if we already have a patent free technology to move data over a network and another to turn voice into data, then combining the two is far from non-obvious. Arguably, combining the two is exactly what they were intended for from the beginning. It's especially true for VoIP where in the '70s voice packets were being carried by frame relay.

    Sort-of car analogy. Mail is delivered using gasoline powered vehicles. Doing exactly the same thing using a propane powered vehicle is certainly not patent worthy. If vehicles in general are being converted to propane, even less so.

    So, the typewriter was an invention. Using the typewriter for personal (rather than business) correspondence was not.

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