The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday assigned Apple a patent covering passive audio call screening via an off-site voicemail delivery service, a feature that can theoretically be applied to cellphone platforms like the iPhone.
Likely an assignment from the Rockstar consortium purchase of a Nortel patent cache, Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,666,034 for “Audio call screening for hosted voicemail systems” could potentially bring a staple landline technology to cellphones.
In 2011 Rockstar, a consortium of tech companies including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research in Motion and Sony, successfully bid $4.5 billion for a collection of more than 6,000 Nortel patents. It was later learned that Apple footed the lion’s share of the bill, equating to some $2.6 billion.
While the Rockstar consortium has leveraged key patents in litigation against Google and Samsung, other properties have slowly been making their way to Apple. Such is the case of the ‘034 patent.
Those who owned personal answering machines either at home or at the office may remember screening calls by letting the machine pick up, then listening in on the message. If the call was urgent or worth taking, the recipient could simply pick up the phone and answer, automatically shutting off the recording.
As Apple’s new patent deals with hosted voicemail services, which are ostensibly off-site and in some ways similar to those provided by cellular operators. More…