April 5, 2007 | By Hugh D'Andrade

Patent Busting -- Prior Art Needed

EFF?s Patent Busting Project fights back against bogus patents by filing requests for reexamination against the worst offenders. We've successfully pushed the Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine patents held by Clear Channel and Test.com. Now we need your help to bust one more.

A company called Acceris claims patents on processes that implement voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) using analog phones as endpoints. Put simply, these patents cover telephone calls over the Internet.

Specifically, the claims describe a system that connects two parties where the receiving party does not need to have a computer or an Internet connection, but the call is routed in part through the Internet or any other ?public computer network?. The calls must also be ?full duplex?, meaning that both parties can listen and talk at the same time, like in an ordinary phone call.

We would like to prove that the method and system described in the patents are not novel. To bust these overly broad claims, we need ?prior art? ? any publication, article, patent or other public writing that describes the same or similar ideas being implemented before September 20, 1995.

We have also identified and listed below several products from the mid-1990s that might fit the above criteria. Information about these as well as any other products would be greatly appreciated.

Net2Phone. According to its website, Net2Phone is a product that enables individuals with computers and Internet connections to place voice calls to anyone with an ordinary telephone. We are looking for documentation about Net2Phone that predates September 20, 1995 or evidence of Net2Phone's existence before September 20, 1995.

Internet Phone by VocalTec. VocalTec's Internet Phone was one of the first commercial software products that enabled audio calls between computers on the Internet. We are looking for documentation about this gateway functionality that predates September 20, 1995 or evidence of such a product's existence before September 20, 1995.

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