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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Allows Patent Claim Over SmartDial

(CN) - A federal judge in Manhattan refused to dismiss claims that a Swedish phone company ripped off SmartDial technology that allows users to make international phone calls by dialing a local number.

Stanacard, which dubbed its technology the "calling card of the next generation," filed a complaint against Rebtel Networks for allegedly lifting its system for making reduced-cost long distance or international calls.

With SmartDial, a local telephone number is assigned to frequently called international contacts, so a person can dial a U.S.-based number when calling internationally, eliminating the need for access codes and PIN numbers, according to Stanacard.

"In order to make such a design economically feasible, the system is designed share the local telephone numbers provided to place their calls," U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet explained. "As a result, many different users use the same dial-in number to reach their respective recipients."

The system connects the call by reading the numbers of both the phone from which the call is made and the dialed number.

Stanacard accused Rebtel of infringing on its patented SmartDial technology.

But the parties disputed the definitions of several patent terms, including "telephone number," "associated with," "recipient" and "local calling area."

Rebtel argued, unsuccessfully, that much of the language in Stanacard's patent is "insolubly ambiguous, and therefore invalid."

Judge Sweet denied Rebtel's motion for summary judgment and then outlined the definitions of disputed terms for much of the 54-page ruling.

After examining the terms, the judge decided to use "plain and ordinary meaning."

"If a claim's meaning is discernable, 'even though the task may be formidable and the conclusion may be one over which reasonable persons will disagree,' the claim is 'sufficiently clear to avoid invalidity on indefiniteness grounds,'" he wrote.

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