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EP1056268 Method and device for creating and transmitting structured voicemail messages
  • EU-Patent on software (algorithm)
  • Application to European Patent Office on 15/5/2000 by Lucent Technologies Inc. (USA)
  • Granted on 28/8/2002
  • Date of priority: 25/5/1999 (valid no more than until 25/5/2019)
  • Patent Attorney: Patent Department of the company
  • Patent specification provided by FFII/Gauss
  • EPO/espacenet
  • Patent specification provided FFII/Gauss
  • Patent specification provided EPO/espacenet
  • Akteneinsicht beim EPO/epoline (Since 14 August 2006 a direct link has not been provided anymore. Instead it is necessary to activate JavaScript zu aktivieren and to enter the Patent-number in the form)
Advice on the reading of patent specifications:
  • The decisive element are the claims, as they specify which actions are forbidden within the framework of the patent.
  • Violating one single claim is sufficient to be considered a patent violation. Generally, claim number 1 is the decisive main claim which covers all other claims relating to special cases.
  • The description is intended to help the reader interpret the claim. At the same time, it is supposed to document and disclose the details of the invention. This disclosure is the original purpose of the entire patent system.
  • In practice, a patent specification contains no detailed information on how the patented procedure could be implemented (even if the patent owner allowed the implementation). In particular, a software patent contains no program code (reference implementation), but merely describes the idea of a software.

Patented idea: Transmission of structured e-mails

Main claim: Transmission of an e-mail which comprises several parts – together with instructions what to do with the relevant parts

Further claims:

  • Special cases: Transmission of voice and/oder text messages per e-mail, voice messages as audio data, hyperlinks, telephone-markup-language
  • First no transmission but creation
  • Hierarchical struktur
  • Interactive calling-in of linked additional resources
  • Device (for example computer with e-mail software) which executes everything

Description: The patent specifications describe the importance of the voicemail messages and the advantages of the structured e-mails. The patent specifications mostly mention the voicemail messages; but the main claim covers the transmission of any type of structured e-mail.

The MIME standard for the transmission of e-mail attachments provides for a description of the attachments (for ex. "application/ogg" for audio data in OGG format) so that the e-mail software may recognise how to handle the data. Therefore, each e-mail with attachments which is in accordance with the standard represents a structured e-mail in terms of the patent claims.

Everyday life parallel: Someone sends to a friend a parcel which contains a CD and a small box of coffee and puts an "utilization instruction" in the parcel: "Prepare and drink the coffee, read the book and play and listen to the CD". Thus, he gives a structure to the contents of the small box and infringes the patent.

Examples of patent infringement: Each e-mail software which can also transmit attachments infringes the patent.

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