Short Summary: Claims directed to a collect call construed as requiring live voice transmission.

Case: Howlink Global LLC v. Network Commc’ns. Int’l Corp., No. 2013-1181 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 2, 2014) (non-precedential). On appeal from S.D.N.Y. Before Newman, Dyk, and Moore.

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff patentee appealed the district court’s construction of claim terms. CAFC affirmed.

  • Claim Construction: District court correctly construed claim language “temporarily transmit[ting] voice of a caller to the called terminal to identify when the second communication link is established” and “prohibiting voice transmission until the collect call acceptance arrives after the temporary transmission” as requiring the transmission of the caller’s live voice. The claims require an initiation of the voice transmission and an abrupt cessation, thus excluding pre-recorded voices. Although the written description includes an embodiment wherein a pre-recorded message is played, the patentee amended the claim language during the prosecution of the patent to overcome a prior art reference disclosing the use of pre-recorded or computer generated transmissions during a collect call.