>> "Because human operators are used instead of machine transcription, voicemails are converted accurately, intelligently, appropriately and succinctly into text messages (SMS/MMS)," founder Daniel Doulton wrote in a 2004 patent filing. <<
The 2004 GB filing spawned a divisional application, which the Examiner thought unpatentable. At hearing, the main claim considered was (note step (b): "A method of providing voicemail to a mobile telephone, in which a caller initiates a voice call to the mobile telephone, but that call is diverted to a voicemail server, with the caller then leaving a voice message on the voicemail server; the method comprising the steps of: (a) playing back the voice message to an operator; (b) the operator transcribing the original voice message into a computer to generate a transcribed text message, the transcribed text message not being a word for word transcription of the original voice message but instead a succinct, intelligent rendering of the actual message; (c) sending the text message to the mobile telephone; (d) displaying the text message on the mobile telephone."
The Hearing Officer refused the patent application as a mental act: "A human operator, listening to a voicemail message and transcribing that message into text form is a mental act. The changing by that human operator of a message so that it is not a word for word transcription but instead a succinct intelligent rendering of the message is also purely a mental act which, I might add, secretaries have been performing for generations."