We've written a lot about patent applications here. Now, let us talk about a recent patent approval, specifically Patent 6,738,461 - or "Methods And Apparatus for Returning a Call Over A Telephony System."
Awarded to subscription-based VoIP applications provider CallWave, Inc., the patent describes a way for a called party to return a missed call, even if the originating phone number is private, or is blocked from recognition by caller I.D. systems.
According to the patent, here's what's enabled:
A method of performing a return-call operation, comprising:
receiving a forwarded call originally directed by a caller to a first telephone line associated with a user; receiving signaling information, including a phone number associated with the caller; determining whether the phone number is one of a private phone number and a public phone number; generating a display message, the display message notifying the user of the call, wherein the display message includes the phone number when the phone number is public, and the display message does not include the phone number when the phone number is private.
The patent adds that the technology will enablethe user to return the call to the caller without revealing the phone number to the user when the phone number is private.
In such cases, the call-back number will remain unrevealed.
The Patent literature notes that this confidentially will be ensured through the use of "a call bridging operation performed by a call management system to thereby inhibit the caller's phone number from appearing on a telephone bill of the user as a result of the return call, by using an encryption key to encrypt the phone number; and storing the encrypted phone number on a computer associated with the user, wherein the user is prevented from viewing the phone number in an unencrypted form."