Thursday, June 10, 2010

TCS Text-Messaging (SMS) Patent - who is affected?


It seems strange to me that there is so little public discussion about the rather sweeping SMS patent enforcement campaign by Telecommunication Systems, Inc..

A little over a year ago, Telecommunications Systems (TCS) and their attorneys started sending out letters to SMS service providers and their clients across the country. TCS claimed that they were infringing on the “Smith” patents (US Patent #'s 6,891,811 and 7,355,990) that cover MO (mobile originated) SMS application-to-person (A2P) services.

I was curious so I downloaded both patents and spent a day going through them. The claim is that many SMS service providers are infringing on the patents because their services enable a person to send an SMS message to an application and receive a response. Pretty basic.

In a nutshell, the general scenario is:

  1. A cell phone subscriber sends an MO text message to a short code (its doesn't have to be a short code, but this is where TCS appears to be focusing)

  2. A "gateway" server receives the text message, inserts it into an HTTP request, and sends it to an application server over the internet

  3. The application server replies via HTTP with some piece of information

  4. The gateway server inserts the piece of information into a text message and sends it back to the cell phone

The key elements are that A) the mobile originated (MO) SMS must be inserted into an HTTP request, and B) the HTTP response must in turn be inserted into a mobile terminated (MT) SMS message and sent back to the cell phone, thus establishing a two-way communication.

There is some debate as to whether or not "prior art" exists bringing into question the validity of the patent. The most compelling case seems to be from Kannel.org, the open source SMS gateway provider. Kannel states “This technology has been Open-Source since at least 1999 and there is plenty of documentation to prove it publicly on Kannel.org.”

Nevertheless, TCS does have a registered patent with USPTO and they can and will attempt to enforce it. All technology firms using SMS communications should review their services in light of these patents and determine if they are at risk of an infringement claim.

For more information on the patent, industry comments, etc., there is a great article on mobilemarketer.com.


Steve

12 comments:

  1. FWIW, I'm claiming to have been the first with a full, functional, usable system that was in fact being used, in 1982/1983.

    http://frank-segler.blogspot.com/2010/08/texting-now-27-years-old.html

    Link above goes into detail, also links to both the BASIC and 6502 Assembly code I wrote for the project.

    In a nutshell, my brother and I (I was 14 and he was 12 at the time) ran Dune BBS in Huntington Beach, CA. We created a texting system which allowed users to call in from any telephone and receive text messages that were sent to them by other users. A voice synthesizer (text to speech) read them their messages. Additionally we developed the input system using a 2 key per character system as well as accounting for the two letters of the alphabet which did not appear on phones of that time period.

    It might make a difference to someone because of the litigation, but my system clearly is prior art.

    It also makes texting 27 years old. Or thereabouts :).

    I have already publicly stated that all my code is free and in the public domain. Several programs that I wrote back then are still being sold today.

    Anyhow Ive had my run ins with patent trolls and really find them to be quite despicable. Be happy to help anyone wanting texting to be open for all and to break down any walls to its free and full use.

    If you want to contact me, leave a message on my blog. They get emailed to me.

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you for the post. For other telecom update you can visit http://www.audiotextsolutions.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. VIRUS REMOVAL

    Is Your Computer Sluggish or Plagued With a Virus? – If So you Need Online Tech Repairs
    As a leader in online computer repair, Online Tech Repairs Inc has the experience to deliver professional system optimization and virus removal.Headquartered in Great Neck, New York our certified technicians have been providing online computer repair and virus removal for customers around the world since 2004.
    Our three step system is easy to use; and provides you a safe, unobtrusive, and cost effective alternative to your computer service needs. By using state-of-the-art technology our computer experts can diagnose, and repair your computer system through the internet, no matter where you are.
    Our technician will guide you through the installation of Online Tech Repair Inc secure software. This software allows your dedicated computer expert to see and operate your computer just as if he was in the room with you. That means you don't have to unplug everything and bring it to our shop, or have a stranger tramping through your home.
    From our remote location the Online Tech Repairs.com expert can handle any computer issue you want addressed, like:
    • - System Optimization
    • - How it works Software Installations or Upgrades
    • - How it works Virus Removal
    • - How it works Home Network Set-ups
    Just to name a few.
    If you are unsure of what the problem may be, that is okay. We can run a complete diagnostic on your system and fix the problems we encounter. When we are done our software is removed; leaving you with a safe, secure and properly functioning system. The whole process usually takes less than an hour. You probably couldn't even get your computer to your local repair shop that fast!
    Call us now for a FREE COMPUTER DIAGONISTIC using DISCOUNT CODE (otr214424@gmail.com) on +1-914-613-3786 or chat with us on www.onlinetechrepairs.com.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Problem: HP Printer not connecting to my laptop.
    I had an issue while connecting my 2 year old HP printer to my brother's laptop that I had borrowed for starting my own business. I used a quick google search to fix the problem but that did not help me.
    I then decided to get professional help to solve my problem. After having received many quotations from various companies, i decided to go ahead with Online Tech Repair (www.onlinetechrepairs.com).
    Reasons I chose them over the others:
    1) They were extremely friendly and patient with me during my initial discussions and responded promptly to my request.
    2) Their prices were extremely reasonable.
    3) They were ready and willing to walk me through the entire process step by step and were on call with me till i got it fixed.
    How did they do it
    1) They first asked me to state my problem clearly and asked me a few questions. This was done to detect any physical connectivity issues with the printer.
    2) After having answered this, they confirmed that the printer and the laptop were functioning correctly.
    3) They then, asked me if they could access my laptop remotely to troubleshoot the problem and fix it. I agreed.
    4) One of the tech support executives accessed my laptop and started troubleshooting.
    5) I sat back and watched as the tech support executive was navigating my laptop to spot the issue. The issue was fixed.
    6) I was told that it was due to an older version of the driver that had been installed.
    My Experience
    I loved the entire friendly conversation that took place with them. They understood my needs clearly and acted upon the solution immediately. Being a technical noob, i sometimes find it difficult to communicate with tech support teams. It was a very
    different experience with the guys at Online Tech Repairs. You can check out their website www.onlinetechrepairs.com or call them on 1-914-613-3786.
    Would definitely recommend this service to anyone who needs help fixing their computers.
    Thanks a ton guys. Great Job....!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This blog is so nice to me. I will continue to come here again and again. Visit my link as well. Good luck
    obat aborsi

    ReplyDelete