Verizon-Vonage patent analysis Part One: 6,282,574

Verizon-Vonage patent analysis Part One: 6,282,574

Summary: My interpretation: I agree with Om that the technology described here is so generic that a claim for infringement is highly unlikely. Entitled  Method, server and telecommunications system for name translation on a conditional basis and/or to a telephone number, Verizon's U.

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TOPICS: Networking
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My interpretation: I agree with Om that the technology described here is so generic that a claim for infringement is highly unlikely.

Entitled  Method, server and telecommunications system for name translation on a conditional basis and/or to a telephone number, Verizon's U.S. Patent 6,282,574 refers to:

An enhanced name translation server, for use on a packet data network such as the Internet, executes a conditional analysis in response to at least some queries or requests for name translations. For example, the server may return a different destination address at different times or in response to translation requests from different terminals. The server also can query a primary destination terminal device, and condition the response to the calling terminal on the status of the primary terminal.

For example, if the primary terminal is `live` the server forwards the address of that terminal to the calling terminal device to set up communications. Otherwise, the server returns alternate destination address information. The server also supports a wide variety of different types of translations, including domain name to address, domain name to telephone number, and telephone number to address. The enhanced translations offer called customers numerous options for controlling communications directed toward them, and the customers may elect to apply these options both to their data communications services and their voice communications services through the packet data network.

The part that Verizon has objected to, and is being upheld as infringement, focuses in on phrases 26 and 27:

26. A method comprising:

receiving a name translation request at a server coupled to a public packet data network;

translating a name included in the request into a destination telephone number associated with a name included in the request; and

transmitting a reply containing both the destination telephone number and a packet data network address of a telephone gateway coupled between the public packet data network and a telephone network through the public packet data network to a calling device.

27. A method as in claim 26, wherein the address is an Internet Protocol address.

From my review, it seems as though Figure 1 of this patent's art could be said to be descriptive of the overall role of the "26. method" in the ecosystem of the invention being described.

Here's Figure 1:

Now for the description of the most relevant info pursuant to this diagram:

Many of the PCs also have voice communication capabilities. For example, PCs 21 and 35 includes microphones 23, 37 and speakers 25, 39. These PCs also include analog to digital and digital to analog converters, and the CPUs in such PCs run software for compression and decompression of digitized audio (typically voice) information. The software also processes the audio information for transmission and reception of the compressed digital information in IP packets and using the appropriate protocol for communication with the respective access server.

PCs having voice communication capabilities can conduct two-way, real-time audio communications with each other, in a manner directly analogous to a two-way telephone conversation. However, the actual signals exchanged between two such terminal devices go through the public packet data network 31 and the appropriate access servers 27, 33. Typically, such communications at least bypass long distance interexchange carriers. In the example given above, the PC 21 connects to the Internet access server 27 through a dial-up telephone connection through a local carrier telephone network (not shown). The PC 35 connects to the Internet access server 33 via a LAN. Voice communications between the PC 21 and the PC 35 would utilize a local telephone link (between PC 21 and server 27), but the rest of the communication link would go through the public packet data network 31 and the LAN. If both PCs connect to the Internet via a LAN or other data network, the audio communications may not utilize the telephone network at all.

Those PCs which have voice communication capabilities may also send and receive telephone calls via the public switched telephone network to persons using standard telephones 49. For this purpose, the public packet data network 31 connects to a number of PSTN gateways in different service areas, although only one such gateway 45 appears in FIG. 1. Each gateway 45 connects to one or more central offices 47 of the public switched telephone network in the region where the gateway 45 is located. Calls through such gateways typically bypass the long distance interexchange carrier and may utilize a data network connection to one PC, as in the earlier example.

The PSTN gateway 45 provides a voice telephone grade interface to the public packet data network 31, for a large number of calls, between telephone networks such as the PSTN and/or cellular or PCS type mobile telephone networks. Typically, such a gateway 45 will connect to at least one central office (CO) 47 of the PSTN via one or more primary rate interface type ISDN line groups or a combination of one or more T1 circuits and a Simplified Message Desk Interface type signaling circuit. The line circuits provide digital line interconnections of the gateway 45 to the central office 47. The PSTN gateway 45 includes one or more computers for processing individual calls. The computer(s) include appropriate line interfaces for answering incoming calls and initiating outgoing calls over the particular type of line circuits. The interfaces also receive and decode standard signaling messages from the PSTN, e.g. DTMF dialing signals, and detect line status and call progress signals on incoming and outgoing calls. Each of the computer(s) in the gateway 45 runs software to compress incoming audio signals from the PSTN in a standardized format and decompress digital audio signals in that format received via the public packet data network 31, for transmission over the PSTN. The computer(s) also perform the two-way protocol processing to send and receive compressed, digitized voice data in TCP/IP packet form over the network 31. The PSTN gateway 45 includes or connects to a router coupled to the public packet data network 31. Copending commonly assigned application Ser. No. 08/634,543 filed Apr. 18, 1996 describes several implementations of `Internet Modules` which may serve as alternate embodiments of the PSTN gateway 45.

Communications via the public packet data network 31, such as the Internet, utilize IP protocol addressing. As discussed above, each such address comprises a series of four numbers separated by dots. To facilitate person to person communications, however, people can address each other using easier to remember names. In the presently preferred embodiments, these names may be textual domain names or telephone number based domain names, but other name formats are within the scope of the invention. A domain name server system 51 translates the names into actual IP addresses. In accord with one aspect of the present invention, the translation may also provide other related information such as an alternate telephone number.

As shown in simplified form in FIG. 1, the domain name server (DNS) 51 comprises a server computer which functions as the central processing unit of the domain name server. The computer has an IP packet data interface to the network 31. The DNS system 51 also includes a data storage system storing a series of databases attached to or incorporated into the server. As discussed more below, the databases include look-up tables for direct translations of names to addresses and routing control records for conditional processing of requests for communication with at least some customers.

Essentially, when a person wishes to initiate a communication, they instruct their PC to start communication using a name address. The PC transmits a name translation request or `query` to the domain name server system 51 via the appropriate access server and the network 31. The server S receives the a domain name query from the public packet data network 31. In response, the server may execute a direct look-up table based translation to an IP address or telephone number. However, for any called party customer who has established a more sophisticated routing service, the server 51 will execute conditional analysis in response to the domain name translation query.

In its simplest form, if the conditional analysis produces a first result, the server 51 translates a name included in the query (e.g. domain name or telephone number based name) into a first destination IP address. If the conditional analysis produces a second result, the server 51 translates the name included in the query into a second destination IP address. The server then transmits a response message containing the first or the second destination address to a calling PC. The PC uses the received IP address to establish the desired communication through the public packet data network 31.

The name processing may apply to data communications as well as to voice telephone type communications through the packet data network 31. Also, the conditional analysis name processing may utilize a variety of criteria relating to the communication, such as the identity of the calling party or terminal, the time, the status of a primary destination terminal, etc. The conditional processing by the domain name server 51 will support a wide array of selective routing services, such as routing to different destinations at different times, routing to an alternate destination if a primary destination is inactive, follow-me type service, etc. Several more specific routing examples will be discussed in detail later.


Now, on to the next patent...

Topic: Networking

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  • All patents must die [nt]

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    Omch'Ar