Patent processes are long-winded - and so this post relates to some rather old work I did while employed by IDEO. A couple of weeks ago, T-Mobile USA was issued U.S. patent No. 7,685,530 titled ‘Preferred contact group centric interface’ where I am listed as co-inventor. A similar patent was issued in the UK last year but this one apparently took more time to be issued.
Here’s the abstract:
“A preferred contact group centric interface for a communication device can be used to facilitate communications by a user. The user interface can be arranged to activate from a user’s “home page” on the display, from an idle screen that is accessed after a timeout period expires, or any other appropriate mechanism that activates the preferred contact group centric experience. A user selects the preferred contact group from among an array of the user’s contacts. Once the contact group is configured, a minimal number of navigation/selection features is necessary to activate any number of communication modes available to the contacts. The contact group is configured such that simple and quick navigation between the contact members is achieved. The contact group can be presented in 2D and 3D arrangements, in any number of list or geometric configurations.”
And here is the link to the full patent on the US Patent and Trademark office website. Usually Google Patents have a nicer version (where the images are inserted and you the horrible layout of the USPTO website can be avoided) but it doesn’t seem to be up yet. However, here is the UK patent on Google Patents.