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Method and system for speeding up data input to a communication system

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Method and system for speeding up data input to a communication system

User equipment and/or devices equipped to engage in textual communication sessions also interface to a server. The server maintains a thesaurus bank that includes a variety of different thesauri. When engaging in a textual communication or editing session, the user or the user equipment can request or may automatically receive a relevant thesaurus. As the user enters characters to create a textual entry, the selected thesaurus is searched to identify candidate completions. The user can then select one of several displayed candidate completions. In addition, the user input can also be delivered to the server and used to update the content of the thesauri.

USPTO Applicaton #: #20120297317 - Class: 715752 (USPTO) - 11/22/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Computer Supported Collaborative Work Between Plural Users >Interactive Email

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120297317, Method and system for speeding up data input to a communication system.

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This application for patent is being filed in the United States Patent Office under 37 CFR 1.53(b) as a divisional application and claiming the benefit under 35 USC 121 and/or 35 USC 365(c) of the concurrently pending and prior filed non-provisional application that was filed on Nov. 22, 2004, assigned Ser. No. 10/579,592 and bearing the title of METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SPEEDING UP DATA INPUT TO A COMMUNICATION SYSTEM, which application was filed under 37 U.S.C. 371 based on International Patent Number PCT/IL2004/001072 which application claims the benefit of the priority date of United States Provisional Application for Patent having a Ser. No. 60/524,802 and a filing date of Nov. 25, 2003 and as such, the effective priority date for the present application in Nov. 25, 2003. Each of the above referenced applications is incorporated herein by reference.


The present invention relates to the field of data and, more particularly, to automated word completion systems for composing a text message.

During recent years, communication through the use of text messages has experienced dramatic growth in popularity and use. The advantage of text message communications that has augmented this growth is the availability of quick and easy communication between widely disparate individuals and networks. The communication may be between a pair of friends, relatives or coworkers, and also between strangers and groups of strangers. The text messages may be used also for commercial purposes such as ordering services, voting, etc.

The text communication may be done over the Internet using instant messages and chat rooms, via cellular telephone using Short Message Service (SMS), or via digital TV using interactive television services, etc.

A problem with using text message communication via cellular telephone, interactive TV, palm computers, etc. is that those devices are frequently difficult to use for text entry. Generally, those devices have space-limited keyboards (typically a 0-9 numeric keypad plus several additional function keys). Entering a text message via a space-limited keyboard is often confusing and difficult.

There are several methods that face the challenge of accelerating text communication via cellular or interactive TV. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,519,771 discloses a method for creating a message to a chat room over interactive TV. The method offers a limited number of predetermined responses to the television or video content. The predetermined responses are prepared in advance by the user or may be standardized responses that are broadcast to many user interface devices. The user can select the appropriate predetermined message. Having the predetermined responses available allows for interactive communication without the need for a keyboard to type the message.

Another method is disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/987,218 having the publication number US2003/0090518. This application discloses a method for automatically forwarding and replying with a short message. By using this method, a local user can select a message from one of a plurality of pre-established reply messages. The user may modify the selected message or send it as is. Moreover, a structuralized, modularized and hierarchy menu is provided to the local user in order to define a group of pre-established reply messages that may fit the user\'s needs.

However, the above-described methods offer limited communication because the user is limited to pre-established and/or predetermined reply messages, and the user cannot create his preferred message.

There are some methods for accelerating the entry of text data by offering automatic or assisted word completion, such as the methods that are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,405,060, U.S. Pat. No. 6,377,965, or U.S. Pat. No. 4,374,625. The methods described in these patents can be divided into two groups depending on the type of thesaurus that is used for offering a list of words. The thesaurus that is used in the first group is unique for each user and is created by the user. This thesaurus is updated from time to time according to the usage of the words by the user. This group of methods is limited to the past experience of the user and cannot benefit from the usage and the experience of other users.

The other group of methods uses a thesaurus that is prepared in advance by a third party. This thesaurus may be based on a large number of users and may offer words that were not used by the user himself. However, the thesaurus utilized in these methods is fixed and is not updated from time to time.

Moreover, a common device with a limited-space keyboard may have limited free storage place, since its main application is other than text communication, and a storage location for a large thesaurus is not one of its objectives. For example, a cellular phone is used mainly for audio communication; a digital receiver or a TV set-box usually is used for receiving and processing digital TV signals, etc.

Therefore, there is a need in the art for a new method of accelerating the input of text messages in a device with a space-limited keyboard and limited storage capabilities, a method that may load, upon need, a dynamically and continuously updated thesaurus with the most likelihood words to be tapped by a user during the current application.



The present invention provides a solution to the above-described needs by providing a word completion method that operates by offering a list of words from which the user may select the appropriate or desired one, if it exists. The list is selected from a thesaurus according to the character that has been tapped or otherwise entered by the user. The list may have a flexible number of words, depending on the frequency of usage of the character that has been tapped. The number of words may be varied from one to a few words, such as, but not limited to, three, five or seven words. The list may contain terms, phrases, slang and alpha-numeric combinations (e.g. ‘4U’). The thesaurus may also depend upon the topic of the communication. Furthermore, the thesaurus can be dynamically and continuously updated according to the current communication transportation that is created by participants sharing the same topic. The appropriate thesaurus may be loaded to the user\'s communication device by the service provider upon selecting the topic of the communication or upon joining a chat room.

Usually, a chat room is related to a particular topic, with participants attracted to that chat room by their interest in the topic. Therefore, communication between participants in a chat room or a forum, in the case of interactive TV communication, may frequently share common data terms such as words, terms, abbreviations, expressions and other combinations of alpha-numeric characters and signs. The appearance of those frequently used or popular words may be changed over time, depending on the most popular or the most recent event that is relevant to the topic.

An exemplary embodiment of the present invention may comprise a text message server that may reside in the communication service provider\'s premises. The text-message server handles the text message communication transportation. The server, in parallel to transferring the text messages to its destination, may store the text messages in appropriate one or more databases. Each database is associated with a topic or chat room or any other type of subject (or group). They may include subjects such as, but not limited to, profession, business, sex, age, etc. It should be noted that the terms “topic”, “forum”, “subject”, “group” and “chat room” are used interchangeably herein. Henceforth, the description of the present invention may use the term ‘topic’ as a representative term for any of the above group.

In another exemplary embodiment, the database may receive input from additional sources such as, but not limited to, another database that may contain a thesaurus of words that are frequently used in text messages or from another topic that is close to the topic of the database; in some cases, words may be added manually by the service provider, etc.

From time to time, in a continuous mode, a statistical processor may analyze the data in each one of the databases and may define for each database a current thesaurus that fits the topic that is associated with that database. The current thesaurus of a topic may contain the words, which are most frequently used in this topic. A thesaurus may contain words in more than one language, slang, unique terms such as ‘4U’ that is often used instead of ‘For You’, etc. Then the current thesaurus of a topic is stored in a bank of thesauri, and the statistical processor may process the database of the next topic. The number of words in the current thesaurus of a topic can be a fixed number or can be configured according to the topic. An embodiment of the present invention may have more than one thesaurus per topic. Those thesauri may differ from each other by their size (number of words). The size of each one of them may be defined by the type of equipment that is used by the user.

An exemplary communication device at the user location may have an agent that communicates with the text message server. Upon initiating a text communication session, the agent may automatically define the topic of the session, for example, by the chat room or the destination address, etc. The agent may prompt the user to define the topic of the communication or the chat room that the user would like to join, or the user may define the topic without being prompted. Based on the topic of the session, the agent may load the appropriate thesaurus from the service provider premises. In some embodiments, in which the thesaurus is an integral part of the user\'s equipment, the agent may update the thesaurus with the latest version, if needed.

The method of transferring the appropriate thesaurus from the server to the equipment of the user may depend on the type of communication network that is used. For example, if the network is the interactive TV network, the bank of updated thesauri is transferred to a broadcast server. The broadcast server may use a carousel transmitting method for broadcasting the plurality of thesauri. The carousel transmitting method is a method for broadcasting a plurality of applications or data in a cyclic mode over a digital TV broadcasting network. The agent may wait for the appropriate thesaurus. Upon receiving the appropriate thesaurus, the agent stores the whole thesaurus or a portion of the thesaurus according to the available storing volume that may be used for this application. The size of the stored thesaurus may be configured according to the device.

In another exemplary embodiment, the agent may communicate with the text message server and request the appropriate thesaurus. The communication may be done over the return channel of the interactive TV, or, for example, in cellular communication it may be done via a cellular data connection. In both cases, the communication may be based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or any other type of protocol that can be used for data communication.

The agent may start following the user\'s keystrokes. In response to a keystroke, the thesaurus is searched in effort to identify an entry that matches the keystroke. The matched entry in the thesaurus may comprise a list of completion suggestions that may complete the relevant keystroke. If a match entry is found, then the list of completion suggestions is displayed to the user, such as in a pop-up list box, typically under and to the right (or to the left, depending on the writing direction that is utilized in the used language) of the partial data entry. The list may have a flexible number of words, depending on the frequent of usage of the current keystroke. It should be noted that the terms “words”; “terms”; “phrases”; and “completion suggestion” are used interchangeably herein. Henceforth, the description of the present invention may use the term ‘word’ as a representative term for any of the above group. The number of words may be varied from one to few words, such as, but not limited, to three, five or seven words. The completion suggestions are positioned in the list based on a computed indication of likelihood of being selected. The user may accept one of the suggested completions or may continue entering the data item. Acceptance may be done by touching a pointing device to the display screen over the position of the desired completion suggestion, or by using traditional selection and acceptance keystrokes, such as the “arrow” keys to select a completion suggestion and the “enter” key to accept the selected completion suggestion. The term ‘keystroke’ represents entering of data or instruction by the user. It can be by carried out, for example, by tapping a key in a keypad or a keyboard or it may be by pointing to a soft key that is displayed on the user\'s display or via a voice command or any other method of inputting data.

The present invention supports the current needs of the art by disclosing a method that accelerates text and/or data entering. The method uses a statistical thesaurus that is built dynamically and is updated continuously from text collections from a plurality of users communicating on the same topic.

Some embodiments of the present invention can be used during off line operation and/or online operation. A user may download one or more updated thesauri and save them in the user\'s device. Then the user may add additional words to each thesaurus and use a thesaurus while typing. From time to time the user may update, replace or add a thesaurus, transfer copies of his thesauri to others, etc.

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Data processing: presentation processing of document
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