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WiWPrivate Line Back Issues

private line magazine and e-zine back issue text archive. Caution when using any material here which is now very much dated.

_(11)_(11A) (12)_(12A)

Tom Farley ---

1. General Info on private line: ISSN No. 1077-3487

A. private line is a hardcopy magazine about the telephone system. It's published six times a year by Tom Farley. It's been reviewed well in Factsheet5 and Nuts and Volts. Copyright (c) 1994 It runs 28 pages. It's done in black and white.

B. Subscriptions: $24 a year for subscriber's in the U.S. $31 to Canada or Mexico. $44 overseas. Mailed first class or equivalent. (1) Make checks or money orders payable in US funds to private line. (2) Back issues are five dollars apiece.Specify Issue Number 4 if you want this issue. (3) A sample is four dollars. (4) The mailing list is not available to anyone but me.

C. Mailing address: 5150 Fair Oaks Blvd. #101-348, Carmichael, CA 95608

D. e-mail address:

E. Phone numbers: (916) 978-0810 FAX

F. Submissions: Go for it! Anything semi-technical is strongly encouraged. I don't run any personality pieces. I pay with subscriptions.

G. You may post this file to any site or BBS as long as the whole file is kept intact.

H. This 'patent issue' is well illustrated. It may be hard to follow as a text file but I intend to keep posting the text of each issue no matter how they come out.


I. About The Front Cover II. Editorial Page III. Updates and Corrections IV. Hacking Patents -- A How To Guide A. Introduction B. Sidebar -- Quick Start Guide C. Patent Numbering and Classification D. Sidebar -- A Tale of Two Classes E. The Patent Document F. Patent Bibliography Example G. Tools and Resources H. Background and Summary Example I. List of Patent and Trademark Deposit Libraries J. Class 379 -- Telephonic Communications V. Who's Bugging You?: An Interview With Chris Hall VI. Federal Toll Fraud Law: Section 1029


I. About The Front Cover

1. "3,142,522 COIN TELEPHONE HOUSING: Norris R. Hall and Richard K. Thompson, Jr., Indianapolis, Ind., assignors to Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Dec. 18, 1962, Ser. No. 245,567 10 Claims. (Cl. 312--199)"

The front cover depicts the housing of the 1A1, the first single slot payphone used in the Bell System. Note the large circular hole for the rotary dial. The patent for the housing itself was granted in May, 1964. The 1A1 was introduced in 1965 after seven years of development by Bell Labs and Western Electric. I found this patent by making a list of developer's names from articles in the Bell Laboratories Record. I then looked for those names in many year's worth of the Index of Patents. See my article on patent searching for information on the different kinds of indexes. 2. Want to know more about early payphones? Check out Stokes, R.R., "A Single-Slot Coin Telephone" Bell Laboratories Record (January, 1966) 20 and W. Pfred "A New Coin Telephone" Bell Laboratories Record (December, 1959) 464. Please note that the Record is not the same publication as the Bell System Technical Journal. The B.S.T.J. is widely available. It is dense, intimidating and hard to read. It is also indispensable. The Record, on the other hand, is user friendly. It is well illustrated and easy to read. It was published until 1984. Look for it. You'll find valuable background information on how the Bell System set up phone service for about 75% of America's population.

----------------------------------------------- II. An Introduction

3. Welcome to the fourth issue of private line. This is the first national edition! private line is an open, questioning forum about all things telephonic. It's written with the beginner in mind, but I hope that everyone can find something interesting here. Readers are encouraged to submit articles and to forward corrections. I pay with subscriptions. private line focuses on the technology of the information age, rather than on the personalities. How did all this get started? The magazine 2600 rekindled an interest in telephones that had laid dormant with me for over fifteen years. I read about blue boxing as a teenager but I didn't know anyone who did it. Many San Francisco Bay Area people were involved in hacking but there was no way to get in touch them. Everyone quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle used a fake name. I experimented a little with coin first phones but that was by myself. I tried reading telephony books but they were very difficult to understand. I didn't apply myself and I eventually gave up. That was a mistake. I graduated from high school, went to work and got involved in other hobbies and pursuits. And then last year I saw a copy of 2600 for the first time.

4. What a revelation. I sent for back issues and got a look at what I had been missing. People were still experimenting with the telephone system and still having fun doing so. What's more, the technology of communications was rushing ahead at an incredible speed, producing more fascinating equipment that I could begin to understand. But I still didn't know the basics. I hit several libraries and was discouraged to find that most of the books were as difficult as before. I resolved, however, to apply myself this time. I started taking notes since I learn better when I write things out. The first two issues of private line were a result of that loose collection of notes.

5. I could tell you more about the past but I want to write about the future. I look forward to sharing what I learn about telephones and telecommunications. I look forward to seeing anything you have to contribute. Maybe we can learn together. Thank you! Tom Farley (Sherman) KD6NSP


III. Updates and Corrections

6. I discussed California Penal Code Section 502.7 in the first issue. 502.7 covers toll fraud. I had a question about subsection (3). It says that avoiding lawful charges "[b]y use of a code, prearranged scheme, or other similar stratagem or device whereby the person, in effect, sends or receives information" is illegal. I wasn't sure what this was about. I asked if anyone could give me an example of what the legislature meant.

7. Tom ( clears this up nicely. He writes, "Perhaps they mean trying to avoid collect call charges. For example, let's say I'm in Jersey City, and I want my mom, who lives in Bayonne, to pick me up to take me home. I don't want to put $.20 in the phone to make a call, and I don't want her to get the collect call charge. So, we prearrange this idea: I'll call her collect, and when the operator asks who the call is from, I give a fake name that we have prearranged to mean that she should pick me up to drive me home. Then my mom simply refuses the call, saying 'I don't know who that person is,' she hangs up, then goes to Jersey City to get me. Neither my mom or I have been charged for the call, but the information was passed successfully. In real life, though, I'm not THAT cheap... I CAN spare 20 cents... I guess some people see small change in terms of cheap transistors and resistors. But anyway, that what the law seems to mean."

8. I think Tom provided a good example. It takes on even more importance with new services such as 1-800-COLLECT. You can leave code names that stand for different things. Biff Barker, for example, to stand for "Call me back." Interestingly, the technology is so good these days that phrases like "Call me back" or "My number is . . ." may result in an operator intercept if you try to record them. True, this process is a hassle and it takes a long time to do. But it is possible. I suppose they would charge you with that code section if you had, say, a thousand '800' calls from your residence that were never completed. And your long distance company does keep track of those calls . . .

9. In issue 3 I talked about a program that came from Thipdar's Custom Software. I said it hunted for modem tones. Not so. It's actually a normal scanning program. It notes modem tones but does not look for them exclusively.


IV. Hacking Patents: A How-To Guide (Patent Searching & Telephones) by Tom Farley

A. Introduction B. -- Sidebar -- Quick Start Guide C. Patent Classification D. -- Sidebar -- A Tale of Two Classes E. The Patent Document Itself F. The Search Process G. Tools and Resources H. Example of a Background and Summary of the Invention H. Example of a Patent Bibliography I. List of Patent and Deposit Libraries J. Class 379 -- Telephonic Communications

A. Introduction

10. Patent searching is a great way to find out about telephones. It's low cost and fascinating. Got a question about AT&T's True Voice? Tired of the hype? Read the patent instead. Interested in pay phones? You'll find more information in patents than from any other free, public source. Need telecom clip art that's copyright free? Patents provide. Too good to be true? Well, you must not expect too much. You will not find, for example, operating procedures like those in a manual. But you will find some detailed information that a manual may be based on. Using patents with other information will get you closer to the goal. You may find that patent searching becomes a compelling, hypnotic hobby.

11. A patent is a written document with illustrations. Hardcopy versions of the entire patent are only available at the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries or PTDL's have microfilm copies of those originals. See page 18 for a list. In addition, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gopher has the texts of 1994 patents online. See the Quick Start Guide if you want to start looking at patents right now. For the rest of us, let's start the search process by looking at patent classification. . . (go to paragraph

A. Sidebar -- Quick Start Guide

The Conventional Approach

12. Go to a Patent and Trademark Deposit Libary listed on page 18. Pull out the microfilm roll for any of the following patents. Thread roll on viewer. Read the patent.

a) 3,142,522 Payphone housing b) 3,86,3036 Ground circuit c) 4,310,726 Early 911 network d) 4,924,496 COCOT info e) 5,311,582 Current COCOT

The Internet

13. Do you have net access? Preferably an .edu account? Full text of all 1994 patents were on line as of 12/01/94. The Patent and Trademark office has a gopher. It pulls files from a database at True keyword searches of more than 90,000 documents are possible. You can enter phrases such as toll fraud, COCOT or paystation and get a list of relevant patents. You can then select which patent you wish to view. Check out paragraph

B. Patent Numbering and Classification

14. Each patent gets a permanent number once it's approved. These go in chronological order. You can get an idea, then, of an invention's age without looking up its patent. The payphone housing on the front cover, for example, has patent number 3,142,522. That dates back to mid-1964. The patent number for the 1994 COCOT we discuss later is 5,311,582. Tables exist that match dates to numbers. Two thousand patents on average get approved weekly. More than 5,000,000 patents have been assigned already. Organizing these patents is a major task.

15. All patents are first put into one of several hundred broad classes. Some examples are Class 119 for Animal Husbandry, Class 102 for Ammunition and Explosives and Class 380 for Cryptography. Most telephony related stuff is put into Class 379: Telephonic Communications. All classes, including 379, are broken down into subclasses.

16. Take a look at class 379 at the end of this file. See how everything is arranged? Every conceivable piece of telephone equipment gets a subclass number along with its class number. Payphone patents start at subclass 143. So, the COCOT we'll talk about later has the reference number 379143. That patent deals with other subclasses as well. But 143 is the one that that patent impacts most.

17. The chief problem with subclasses is that the headings are non- intuitive. That's because the descriptions use 'patenteese' and not telecom lingo. The Patent and Trademark Office defines these subclasses but you have to go to a PTDL to look up the vague descriptions. Who would describe, for example, a toll fraud prevention device with language like this: "189. Fraud or improper use mitigating or indication (e.g., 'blue box', 'black box'). Huh? This category is actually quite broad. It includes equipment that deals with fraudulent tones of all kinds. It may be a payphone that's designed to deal with red boxing, or it may involve central office equipment that's designed to detect blasts of 2600 Hz. Don't rule out a subclass because the wording of a heading doesn't match your search exactly.

18. Other classes contain other telephone related products. Not everything is in 379. Telephone booths are in Class 52. Coin collectors for pay stations go in Class 194. You can look up these related things with The Index to the U.S. Patent Classification System. I list it under resources at the end of this article. It is essential for anyone dealing with patents. Let's now look at the patent document itself. . . (go to paragraph 20)  

C. Sidebar -- A Tale of Two Classes

19. Classifying telephone equipment used to be simpler. Telephony inventions were in another class altogether: Class 179: Telephony. It had nice, friendly headings like 'Systems', 'Telephones', 'Switches', and 'Testing Devices.' It contained 190 subclasses. The breakup of the Bell System opened telecom to an avalanche of new products, inventors and companies. This diversity of inventions caused the old class to collapse after only a year. In 1986, Class 379 was introduced to replace old 179. The amount of subclasses doubled. Simple headings were replaced by cryptic ones. Parenthetical statements were devised to explain the headings. Most don't work. You may get a better understanding of the new class by photocopying the last revision of 179. At the very least, you will need a copy of it to do a telephony search before December, 1985.

D. The Patent Document

20. Many, many parts make up a patent. I'll cover the main ones. The first part is the title. Something complex like, "An Integrated COCOT and Regulated Paystation Telephone System." Or, "Automatic Telephone Answering System Using a Single-Tone Signal For Various Operations." Only rarely will you see a simple title like "Modem With Call Waiting." The first title is about a payphone that can be a COCOT or a telco payphone. Two in one. What's more, the phone can be dialed up and set into either mode with just a few commands. It takes some reading to make sense out of these titles. Your best bet may be to always look up a patent that has the right class and subclass number, despite what the title says.

21. The second interesting part of the patent is its bibliography. It gives you clue after clue about the invention as well as the entire field that it belongs in. You'll quickly learn the companies, people, documents and patents that are important. Use any large libary with business directories to get names, addresses and phone numbers.

22. The third important part of the patent is the abstract. It is a legalistic summary of the invention. The abstract is the most widely accessible part of the patent. That's because each new patent has its abstract printed in the Official Gazette, a weekly publication of the Patent and Trademark Office. Hundreds of libraries carry it as well as some companies. You can look up the abstract in the Gazette, even if you don't have access to a Patent and Trademark Deposit Libary. An entry in the Gazette also gives you the patent's number, its title and an illustration. Correctly interpreting abstracts saves you time. Certain abstracts grab your attention. In those cases, you know immediately that a patent is worth the time and effort to get to a Patent and Trademark Deposit Libary to look it up. Many abstracts, though, leave you wondering. Relating an abstract to its patent is a matter of practice through more reading.

23. The background of the invention is the most engaging part of the patent for general readers. It gives you a technological summary of the subject involved. For example, a patent about telephone handsets will contain a background that summarizes handset history and operation. I've reprinted the background of the COCOT patent on page 10 to give you a good idea of what they contain. This short summary is a great introduction to pay phone operation

24. The summary of the invention tells you how the invention works in fairly non-technical terms. It also provides good details about how the invention relates to other things in its field. The COCOT we discuss, for example, has a specific procedure to deal with credit cards. The summary gives details of calling card principles in order to relate the invention's claims to everyday practice. I reprint the COCOT summary on page 10 as well.

25. The body of the text provides the nitty gritty details. It is the longest part of the document. The text is always linked to illustrations. It is next to impossible to figure out a patent without seeing the whole thing. Here's one quotation that shows you the problem. Each number represents a diagram or a part of diagram:

"Assuming the voice message system is collect/return, control relay 93 is provided in co-pending application Ser. No. 07/740,576 incorporated by reference above. The coin refund inhibit relay 73, coupled in series between the collect/return relay 93 and the coin relay 100, includes a pair of control windings 75, 76. One end of each of windings 75, 76 is coupled in common to receive a coil energizing voltage. The other ends of control windings 75, 76 are respectively coupled to receive "relay off" and "relay on" signals from the microprocessor 45, to delineate the position of switch 74 in series with the coin relay 100. As shown in FIG. 5, switch 74 is closed so as to complete the circuit between the collect/return control relay 93 and coin relay 100 allowing for a firing of the coin relay 100. If the microprocessor 45, however, issues a relay off signal, then the switch 74 opens (as noted by the phantom line) to turn off the coin relay 100. . ."

You can tell that the body provides enough information to do some serious reverse engineering. I hope this article persuades you to visit a Patent and Trademark Deposit Libary so that you can look at what is available. Or at least to look up a few abstracts at your local libary. Let's now turn to the search process itself.

F. The Search Process

26. Go to the nearest patent and trademark deposit libary if you are impatient and you know what patent you want to look at. These are the only places that have the complete, illustrated patent on microfilm. Not sure what to look for? Then you have to choose a subclass to investigate. Let's say you've picked subclass 189, the one about detecting toll fraud. What then? Well, again, the easiest answer is to tell you to get to a Patent and Trademark Deposit Libary. It has the most tools and you'll waste the least time. But I can make a case for not going to the PTDL first, even if you have one near you.

27. PTDL's can be intense, intimidating and somewhat crowded. Why not start with a lower key setting first? I'd recommend a beginner go to a state college or university that carries the Official Gazette. You'll usually find it in the Government Documents section. Such a libary will have some supporting materials as well. You can get familiar with patent publications and the microfilm reader there, rather than at a PTDL. Let's go through an example of using a libary that has just the Gazette.

28. Okay, you're now in the Patent section at your libary. Find the Manual of Classification. It's in two loose leaf binders. This is your key to the whole classification system. It's a compilation of all the different patent classes. You'll find Class 379 in there along with everything else. No pictures but very compelling. All of technology is categorized in one work. A libary may keep only the current Manual in the Government Document section; older ones may be kept out in the open stacks.

29. Let's say you're sticking with subclass 189 in telephonic communications. You need to make a list of the recent patents in that field. How? Look for the Index of Patents Issued From The United States Patent and Trademark Office. A long title for some small books. You'll find them near the Manual. The Index of Patents is put out every year in two parts. Stronger libraries have more back issues.

30. The first part of the Index of Patents lists patent holders by name. Organizations such as Bell Laboratories, Protel and Motorola are listed by name as well. Next to the patent holder's name is the class and subclass number of their invention. But no description of the invention is given. A more useful tool is the second part. It lists patents by Class and subclass. What it calls subjects. A list of all patents issued in the last ten years may take only a few minutes to look up if you have a quiet subclass. Classes like 149, "Post pay coin collection", however, may not have had a single patent issued as far back as you can search. Don't be discouraged. Developers may be producing equipment in your field but they may not have decided to go through the patent process. Remember, too, that Class 379 changed in 1985.

31. Well, now you have a list of patent numbers in your subclass. The next step is to look up their abstracts in the Official Gazette. You'll want to see if it's worth it to look up the entire patent at a PTDL. Smaller libraries take the Gazette on microfiche or microfilm. Microfiche is easier to use since you don't have to thread a machine. The disadvantage is that the image produced on the reader is smaller than that with microfilm. A small paper envelope holds each issue of the Gazette on fiche. A single issue may consist of 10 or 15 individual pieces of film. The issues themselves are arranged by date and patent numbers in a file cabinet with shallow, wide trays. Class 379 is usually 2/3d's of the way back in the packet. It's a laborious process to look up several abstracts but it's okay to look up a few. And you'll get motivated to get to the PTDL where the hardcopy volumes are.

32. Microfilm is a different story. Looking up several abstracts is very time consuming. Threading the film onto the microfilm reader takes time, patience and practice. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I've had librarians admit that they have problems threading the machines. I do most of my film reading on the microfilm readers that double as copiers. These machines tend to be in good repair since they make money. It is really silly to thread up a conventional reader, only to have to thread another machine to make a copy when you see what you want. Looking up abstracts this way gives you an insight into the patent process and gives you practice for the PTDL. Patents are on 16mm film but it threads the same as the larger film of the Gazette. Let's now look at what the Patent and Trademark Deposit Libary has to offer.

33. A few PTDL's have every patent ever issued on microfilm. Most don't. Much of what we are interested in, though, goes back no more than 30 years. Every PTDL should have at least that many patents on file. Start viewing the patents on your list in case you want to get going. You'll see shelf after shelf with thousands of small boxes of microfilm. Most PTDL's allow you to grab the roll yourself and start threading. You'll also see the Gazette in hardcopy. You'll appreciate immediately how much faster it is to search those instead of looking at film versions of the Gazette. Speaking of speed, every PTDL has a CD ROM machine that's great for doing recent patent research. It's called CASSIS.

34. CASSIS stands for Classification and Search Support Information System. Arrgh. It's a collection of CD's that allow you to look at patent titles back to 1969 and abstracts back to 1988. In addition, it allows you to do key word searches of the entire classification system. You can put in words like telephone pole, toll fraud or payphone housing, for example, and it will tell you what class those inventions are in. It's a cross reference, in other words, to the massive Manual of Classification that I mentioned previously. This keyword searching, however, can be done with the hardcopy Index to The U.S. Patent Classification System. CASSIS is nice but you can do without it if you are looking up a specific class and subclass.

35. One tool I haven't used is the Automated Patent System or APS. That's the main Patent and Trademark database. You can access it from at least thirteen PTDL's across the country. I list those with a small diamond on the opposite page. This database has the full text of all patents back to 1971! This is, I think, the same database that DIALOG accesses for their patent information. The nearest APS equipped libary to me is in Los Angeles, never-the-less, I will check it out the next time I go and report on how it works. I'm looking forward to using it. For right now, I'm pulling a list of patents in the conventional way.

36. You can run into quirks at the PTDL. Take a lot of change for the copy machines. Don't assume that there will be a change machine. Speaking of copy machines, you may be surprised at what you find. The Sacramento PTDL has some from the late 1960's. These things spit out copies with wet ink on blue print like paper. I'm not kidding. I have to hang the copies on the tops of chairs to dry them off. The quality of these copies is terrible. There is no way that you could use them for OCR work. The illustrations on these pages took quite a bit of work with my scanner to clean up. Some of them started as out as photocopies of abstracts from the Gazette and not from the patent itself. It was easier to get a good illustration that way instead of chasing pixels for hours. There is hope, though, even for this problem. The Patent Office will send you a clean copy of any patent for three dollars. See the section below for details. Good luck with your searching and tell me about any interesting patents you find.


The Internet

37. The quickest way to look at patent information is to use the Internet. It is also a confusing way. The 1994 APS or Automated Patent System database has over 90,000 patents online. The easiest way to use it is through the United States Patent and Trademark Office gopher. This gopher seems poorly supported. I managed to connect to it through my Delphi account for the first time as this goes to print. I simply did a search of directories in gopher space using VERONICA. I chose the VERONICA at SCS Nevada. I keyed in the word patent. Several screens of information came back. I picked one choice labeled U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It lead into the same menu that I had seen before with an .edu account. All of my previous attempts through Delphi did not connect. Keep at it. I wanted to make sure that a gopher was available because it is the simplest service for most people to use. The more technically proficient can use the following information. I've also included what says about connecting with FTP directly. Here's what you'll see if you connect to the PTO gopher:

"U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Information (via

1. About the Patent Full-Text/APS Distribution 2. Keyword Search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Data <?> 3. WAIS source description for Patent index 4. Help on performing WAIS searches

1. About the Patent Full-Text/APS Distribution: This subdirectory contains Full Text Patent Data for 1994. The data subdirectory is organized by ranges of patent numbers. We *highly* recommend that you use WAIS to access this information. Transfer the file patent.src back to your home system and put it with your other WAIS source files.

3. WAIS source description for Patent index: (:source :version 3 :ip-address "" :ip-name "" :tcp-port 210 :database-name "patent" :cost 0.00 :cost-unit :free :update-time (:time interval :weekly:day 5 :hour 1 :min30 ) :maintainer "" :description Patent Full-Text/APS File for 1994. Field name abbreviations in the original feed have been expanded into human-readable form. The database is maintained by the Internet Multicasting Service and is provided . ."

Telnet? Not supported. Here's what happens if you try ...:

"Connected to You have reached the computers of the Internet Multicasting Service. We do not support access by telnet, but invite you to send a mail message to to access our data archives or to to learn about our radio services. You may also use the FTP service to Use your FTP client to connect to and log in as username "anonymous" and use your email address as the password."

38. You can also use the internet to access the Patent and Trademark Office bulletin board. Telnet into or try Fedworld is difficult to navigate.

Modem --

39. The PTO BBS can be dialed directly. It's at (703) 305-8950. It goes up to 9600. No account is necessary to access this information. It's a useful bulletin board and you can download the contents of the current Gazette. I'd recommend that you take a half hour or so and cruise around in it.

Hardcopy Stuff --

40. Patent Copies You can get a copy of any patent for $3.00 from the Patent and Trademark Office. That's a great bargain. It doesn't matter how long the patent is either, all patents are three bucks. There is one drawback -- getting your copies take four to six weeks. Still, this is the best choice for many people. You could do your searching in the Gazette and then order promising copies by mail. It's also a cheaper process than making copies at a PTDL when you have a long document to get. The Patent Office told me that all copies come on plain paper. So, they should work fine for scanning or OCR work. Send a check or money order to:

Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks Box 9, Washington, DC 20231

41. More information? Call (703) 305-4350. All they need is your money and a list of patent numbers. Nothing else. There's no form required. I'm ordering a few patents to see what they look like. Can you imagine the possibilities? A CD ROM designer could put, say, 30 cell phone patents on a single disc. Text and pictures together. (By the way, all the information is public domain and copyright free.) Or, you could put all COCOT info on one CD. Let me know if you do this -- I'll let you advertise for free in private line if you price them at an affordable level. Your editor will, of course, need a copy of each one for review. . .


42. The most relevant magazine about patents for us is Inventor's Digest. It's for the independent inventor and it has lots of interesting information. It's ISSN number is 0883-9859. They're distributed by Fine Print Distributors. Or call them at (719) 635-1916. Only four dollars a copy.


43. Most books on patents become outdated quickly. None deal with telephones exclusively. Never-the-less, here are a few that I think are worth a look:

1. Ardis, Susan. An Introduction to U.S. Patent Searching: The Process. Libraries Unlimited Englewood, Colo. 1991. 2. Basic Facts About Patents. Dept. of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office. Washington, D.C. Rev. Oct. 1993. 3. Patent Profiles: Telecommunications. Dept. of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office. Washington, D.C. 1984  


H. Example of A Bibliography of an Invention

Part 2. Patent Bibliographic Information (PATN) on Patent No. 5,311,582: Integrated COCOT and Regulated Paystation Telephone System.  

WKU Patent Number: 05311582 SRC Series Code: 8 APN Application Number: 0054178 APT Application Type: 1 ART Art Unit: 264 APD Application Filing Date: 19930119 TTL Title of Invention: Integrated COCOT and regulated paystation telephone system NCL Number of Claims: 28 ECL Exemplary Claim Number: 1 EXA Assistant Examiner: Loomis; Paul EXP Primary Examiner: Chin; Stephen NDR Number of Drawings Sheets: 14 INVT Inventor Information NAM Inventor Name: Davenport; Marcus K. CTY Inventor City: Cumming STA Inventor State: GA -------------- -------------------- ISD Issue Date: 19940510 CTY Inventor City: Snellville STA Inventor State: GA -------------- -------------------- NAM Assignee Name: International Teleservice Corporation STA Assignee State: FL COD Assignee Type Code: 02 CTY Inventor City: Woodstock COD Parent Code: 71 APN Application Number: 740841 APD Application Filing Date: 19910806 PSC Parent Status Code: 03 CTY Inventor City: Snellville CLAS Classification OCL Original U.S. Classification: 379143 XCL Cross Reference Classification: 379155 EDF International Classification Edition Field: 5 ICL International Classification: H04M 342 ICL International Classification: H04M 1102 ICL International Classification: H04M 1512 FSC Field of Search Class: 379 FSS Field of Search Subclass:150;143;144;145;146;154; UREF U.S. Patent Reference PNO Patent Number: 3863036 ISD Issue Date: 19750100 NAM Patentee Name: McCrudder XCL Cross Reference to U.S. Classification: 379146 UREF U.S. Patent Reference PNO Patent Number: 4535555 ISD Issue Date: 19900600 CLAS Classification XCL Cross Reference to U.S. Classification: 379144 UREF U.S. Patent Reference ICL International Classification: H04M 342 ISD Issue Date: 19880800 NAM Patentee Name: Kinushita et al. OCL Original U.S. Classification: 379143 UREF U.S. Patent Reference PNO Patent Number: 4924497 ISD Issue Date: 19900500 NAM Patentee Name: Smith et al. OCL Original U.S. Classification: 379150 ----------------------------------- UREF U.S. Patent Reference PNO Patent Number: 5113433 ISD Issue Date: 19920500 NAM Patentee Name: Hird et al. XCL Cross Reference to U.S. Classification: 379155 UREF U.S. Patent Reference PNO Patent Number: 5150403 ISD Issue Date: 19920900 NAM Patentee Name: Jordan XCL Cross Reference to U.S. Classification: 379155 UREF U.S. Patent Reference Series 8000 Installation Guide by Protel, Inc., Document No. 000 313, Jul. 8, 1991. FRM Legal Firm: Evenson, McKeown, Edwards & Lena


I. Background and Summary of the Invention on Patent 5,311,582

Bacground of the Invention

Presently, paystation telephone systems are manufactured and produced to operate in a regulated line or coin line environment or in a customer owned, coin operated telephone (COCOT) environment. Paystations operable in the coin line mode are generally controlled via a central office through the use of the telephone line ring/tip pair and a ground line. The Bell Operating companies are examples of a regulated system which control numerous paystations through out the United States. In contrast, the COCOT systems are produced for individual owners who maintain, service and operate the COCOT paystations as a business for profit. COCOT paystations include a microprocessor providing the intelligence to operate the paystation. Programs are stored in the microprocessor's memory for carrying out the features of the paystation. However, once conventional COCOT telephones are installed in the field, the owner can not change any functional operations of the paystation but rather can only affect certain paystation characteristics such as calling rates, etc.

Because each system is controlled differently, vendors supplying paystations to regulated companies and individual customers currently produce either two separate paystation units or a single unit which requires the removal and insertion of circuit cards in order to change the operation from a coin line telephone to a COCOT telephone. The use of two different paystations has the disadvantages of not allowing the paystations to be interchanged and increases a manufacturers overall cost due to the necessity of carrying two distinct product lines. These problems arise because each system is controlled differently -- coin line systems by a central office and COCOT systems by the paystation itself. It has heretofore been unable for vendors to integrate such systems due to their individual control and operating characteristics. For example, the paystation telephone must operate differently to carry out such features as voice messaging, charging for incoming calls, coin tone fraud prevention, safety checks, coin disposal (how the paystation collects and refunds), dialing sequence (whether the paystation passes the digits dialed directly to the telephone line or buffers the digits and then sends them to the telephone line), voice prompts (where the paystation voices a message to the paystation user), and the like, when controlled via the central office in the regulated system or when controlled via the microprocessor contained with the paystation in a COCOT system. There is therefore needed a paystation telephone

system that integrates both a COCOT and a coin line system, without requiring hardware modifications, and provides a wide range of paystation features operable in either mode.

Summary of the Invention

In accordance with the present invention, the above-mentioned needs are met by an integrated COCOT and regulated paystation telephone system which permits the functionality or features of the paystation to be remotely programmed, in order to increase the versatility of the paystation in either mode of operation. The features can thus be selectively enabled or disabled when the paystation is connected to either a regulated line or a business line.

Pursuant to the invention, the integrated paystation telephone system includes a central microprocessor coupled with an external RAM memory that stores the firm ware for operating the paystation telephone. Novel circuitry is provided under the control of the microprocessor to operate such functions as the power control and coin relay (the relay which excepts or refunds a deposited coin) in either mode of operation. A more detailed description of the power control and coin relay circuitry is provided in co-pending application Ser. No. 07/740,576, filed on even date herewith and entitled "Circuit for Firing Paystation Coin Relay Using Power Derived From Telephone Tip/Ring Voltage, the specification of which is herein incorporated by reference. Further, call progress or answer supervision circuitry is provided to enhance the availability of other paystation telephone features according to the present invention. The call progress circuitry is described in greater detail in co-pending application Ser. No. 07/745,594, filed on even date herewith and entitled "Answer Supervision Circuit For Paystation Telephone With Non Mute Microphone", the specification of which is herein incorporated by reference.

It is a advantage of the integrated COCOT and regulated paystation telephone system of the present invention to be remotely configured to operate in either a COCOT or coin line mode without requiring any hardware changes. This is accomplished via the microprocessor reading a status bit set in the firmware downloaded into the external RAM memory to determine its mode of operation. The paystation telephone system of the present invention further allows for voice messaging systems to be implemented for both coin line and COCOT operation. For coin line operation, a microprocessor open circuits the coin relay such that the central office signal refunding a caller's coin is inhibited. This allows the voice message system to operate. The deposited coin is then collected after the caller leaves his voice message and the phone line is released.

Another novel feature of the integrated paystation telephone system is its operability to detect coin tone fraud via filters provided in the call progress circuitry. The microprocessor controls the filters such that they detect when coin tones are being generated from the handset microphone and, in response thereto, mutes the handset microphone so as to disrupt the coin tone generation.

Still another advantage of the present invention is the provision of a safety program which detects if the paystation housing case is properly grounded so as to avoid shocks to a caller resulting from an accidental charging of the paystation housing case via an AC line. The microprocessor operates to read a case ground sensor signal indicating whether the case is grounded and to report the results thereof.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is its operability to determine the actual connect time between the calling and called parties in order to determine whether overtime charges should be applied for local calls. The call progress circuitry indicates when the called party actually answers the phone which signals the microprocessor to begin a local overtime timer set to a pre determined time stored in the external memory. Once the timer expires, the microprocessor generates a voice signal requesting further money to continue the call. Use of the actual connect time is an advantage over the prior devices which normally begin timing after a pre-set delay period once the call is made, e.g. 15-20 seconds. The present invention provides for a more accurate timing of the conversation based on the actual connect time.

Another advantage of the present invention is its operability to prohibit long distance or `one-plus` telephone calls when the cash box, which receives the deposited coins, is stolen or otherwise missing. The microprocessor is controlled via a program to read a cash box sensor to determine its presence. If the sensor indicates the cash box is missing, the microprocessor prohibits any coin tones from being output over the phone line thus eliminating long distance phone call capability in a regulated system. Furthermore, for local calls, the microprocessor can keep open a circuit path from the telephone line tip to ground such that the central office will not detect that the initial calling rate, i.e. the amount of money to be charged for the call, for a local call has been met. Hence, the central office will not allow a local call.

Still yet another advantage of the present invention is the provision for the paystation telephone system to accept any type of credit or bank card to be used for placing calling or credit card calls, otherwise referred to as `zero-plus` calls. Whereas currently regulated lines, such as the Bell operating companies, only allow use of their own or related calling cards, the present invention provides a program for the microprocessor to store a credit card number input by the caller for comparison with stored credit card numbers which have been approved for use by the particular paystation. These numbers can be continuously changed via the down-loading feature into the external RAM memory.

Other objects, advantages and novel features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. . . <End of Summary>  

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