ADELAIDE-based startup Red Button Technologies has been granted a telecommunications patent in the US that it claims may have serious implications for telcos.
The patent in question is U.S. Patent No. 8,811,934, awarded in August 2014, covering the principle of establishing a communications link between parties who have had a previous association. The company was awarded a similar Australian patent in 2013.
The patent was originally conceived to protect the company's cloud emergency alert system, but Red Button’s patent attorneys convinced the company to submit a less specific patent application, resulting in a patent that protects a much broader principle than originally envisioned.
Red Button’s system uses a cloud based server to store associations between different people, and, through recognising the identity of a person wishing to communicate with their associates, the system establishes the communications link.
According to the firm, it could not find prior art to the patent, and the US and Australian patent offices deemed it to be inventive and unique and thus granted a patent.
Where telephone devices freely allow calls between people, regardless of the identity of the calling and answering party, Red Button’s patent is based on first establishing a relationship between the parties anticipating routing calls in the future.
An important concept behind the patented technology is to enable innovative communication solutions that integrate the use of the Web and communications for different applications that work with any mobile or fixed phone on any network.
The system could, for example, enable seamless migration of conversations between two virtual friends on a social network to a phone call. The system would check the identity of both parties and consult a database to obtain the relevant phone numbers and place the calls. This allows the parties to talk to each other without having to disclose their phone numbers.
The patent also covers the establishment of communications between a portable device and multiple recipients (again parties previously associated with the user) to receive information generated by biometric sensors.