Friday, September 08, 2006

Rutgers sues OnStar asserting infringement of 2001 patent

Faster than one can say San Filippo, Rutgers is suing General Motors, claiming that GM's Onstar system falls within the scope of claims of a 2001 Rutgers patent.

A lawsuit filed by Rutgers in DNJ/Newark against OnStar Corp. seeks an unspecified amount of monetary compensation and an injunction barring the Detroit company from using the Rutgers patent.

AP reports:

GM spokeswoman Daphne Zheng declined to comment Friday, Sept. 8, on the lawsuit, citing company policy.

She said the in-vehicle communication system was available starting in 1996 and now has about 4.5 million subscribers.

The Rutgers patent allows audio access to information in a wide area computer network. It was granted in 2001.

In the year 2001, GM was filing a patent application on "Automated voice response to deliver remote vehicle diagnostic service" which became US 6,735,503. The patent includes the text: In one embodiment of the invention, subscriber 210 may gain audio access to subscriber management application 240 by activating an in-vehicle speech recognition application. The patent also includes the text: Subscriber management subsystem 450 may be, for example, a Wide Area Network interface to a Call Center system. The '503 patent cited to IBM's 6,330,499, issued in 2001.

The Rutgers patent in question may be US 6,240,448, which issued May 29, 2001, entitled "Method and system for audio access to information in a wide area computer network," by inventors Imielinski and Virmani. Although the '448 patent issued in 2001, it is based on a PCT application filed December 20, 1996. Further,
the application claims benefit of Provisional Appln No. 60/009,153 Dec. 22, 1995. The US application work was done by the law firm Mathews, Collins, Shepherd & Gould, P.A.

The first claim of the '448 states:

A system for providing audio access to resources in a wide area network comprising:

means for generating an audio enabled page by selectively choosing linked data from said resources;

an audio web server providing text to audio conversion of said audio enabled page;

means for establishing a connection to said audio web server from an audio interface;

means for selecting information from said audio enabled page in response to input entered over said connection, said input establishing links to said audio enabled page;

means for generating user input audio menus to traverse said links of said audio enabled pages, said input being entered from said user input audio menus; and

means for retrieving said selected information;

wherein said retrieved information is received as audio at said audio interface.

To date, the '448 patent has been cited by 19 US patents, including US 6,400,806.

Of IPBiz post 1897 on Vai Sikahema on Rutgers, one notes that although the Channel 10 Website mentions Sikahema's critical "Vai's View" piece of August 24 ["Rutgers is Wrong"], there is no text from Vai within the webpage.

[IPBiz post 1948]


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