August 22, 2006

It was recently announced that Aspect Software, Inc., a company providing software solutions to connect people with customer service providers, was awarded a patent regarding dynamic help capabilities. U.S. Patent No. 7,080,321, entitled “Dynamic help option for internet customers,” issued on July 18, 2006 and includes 31 method claims “for providing assistance to a customer at a web site.” The first claim comprises the steps of “receiving a request for a web page from a customer; sending said web page without a HELP option to said customer; automatically determining if said customer should be provided assistance; determining an estimated time before a customer service representative will be available, and if said estimated time exceeds a predetermined time then delaying a step of sending said HELP option to said customer until said estimated time does not exceed said predetermined time then sending said HELP option to said customer; and wherein said predetermined time is determined based upon measurements of the time between the time that a HELP option is sent to a previous customer and the time that said previous customer responds to said HELP option.” The patent states that “[m]any web sites have a "HELP" button, which allows the customer to "click on" or press that button in order to contact a customer service representative ("CSR") of the company,” but also notes that “the customer must then wait for a reply from the CSR, which can take minutes, hours, or days.” Instead of requiring an internet user to click on a HELP button, this invention also “provides for automatically connecting a customer to a CSR when a CSR is available or is predicted to be available within an acceptable time.”

U.S. Patent No. 7,080,321: LINK
Aspect Software Press Release: LINK
Aspect Software Website: LINK
FY Times News Article: LINK

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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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