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(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,389,114 Bi
Dowens et al. (45) Date of Patent: *May 14,2002
(54) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR RELAYING COMMUNICATION
(75) Inventors: Jac P. Dowens; Amy J. Rupert, both of Red Bank; Blake Lane Wattenbarger, Fair Haven, all of NJ (US)
(73) Assignee: AT&T Corp., New York, NY (US)
( * ) Notice: This patent issued on a continued prosecution application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), and is subject to the twenty year patent term provisions of 35 U.S.C. 154(a)(2).
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 09/129,861
(22) Filed: Aug. 6, 1998
(51) Int. CI.7 H04M 1/64; H04M 11/00;
(52) U.S. CI 379/52; 379/88.14; 379/93.15;
379/100.09; 379/201.01; 379/205.01
(58) Field of Search 379/34, 52, 67.1,
379/88.13, 88.17, 88.21, 93.17, 93.21, 93.23, 100.09, 112, 114, 158, 201, 32.01, 38, 51, 93.15, 201.01, 205.01, 88.14; 455/417, 445, 461; 348/14-17
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
5,163,081 A * 11/1992 Wycherley et al 379/52
The invention provides a telecommunication relay device that relays communication from a first party to at least one second party. The first party and the second party may use terminals of different types such as telephone stations, text telephones, two-way pagers, personal digital assistants with communication capabilities, data network terminals, etc. The telecommunication relay device converts text received from text terminals into voice for voice terminals and converts voice to text and vice versa. The telecommunication relay device also permits the first party to leave messages for other parties. For example, the first party may send an e-mail message using a telephone station or receive an e-mail using a telephone station. In addition, the telecommunication relay device may open a private chat room to allow communication between data network terminals and telephone stations, for example. The telecommunication relay device may also provide conferencing capability where the conferees may use different type terminals.
22 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets