Collectors need to be sure that every call they make is compliant. Whether calling a mobile phone or a landline, whether using a dialer or a rotary phone, there are a host of requirements that need to be met.
When dialing manually, it can be harder for collection agencies to ensure that compliance standards are being maintained. When calls are made manually, there are checks and balances that can not be made, compared with when calls are being made automatically. Such as whether the correct number is being dialed, and whether the call is being made within the time window set forth by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Noble Systems recently received a patent — one of 12 it was granted by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office — that ensures compliance procedures are maintained when a wireless number is dialed manually.
“Now, when a client has to manually dial a number, it does not fall outside of the compliance window,” said Chris Haggerty, a patent counsel at Noble Systems, a telephony technology provider. “Typically, what happens, if you have a calling list, you have wireless numbers and non-wireless numbers. You want to use your dialer for efficiency, but with the (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), you can not use a dialer to call wireless numbers. To address that, we’ve come up with solution. When a wireless number is pulled out of the dialer and given to an agent, that number is taken out of the process to ensure that the call is made correctly. When you have a dialer, it does the necessary checks. With this new patent, the checks are done, even if the call is made manually.”
Noble Systems has been aggressively seeking patents for the past four years, Haggerty said. Obtaining patents protects Noble’s technology from being copied and used by other vendors, but the patents also offer a number of other benefits. The patents show Noble Systems’s clients that the company is protecting the technology that the clients are investing in, and the patents are also a motivator for the IT staff at the company. Not only is there a financial reward for an idea that leads to a patent, but the individual is also named on the patent as one of the founders.
“A lot of the staff cares more about the plaque that goes on the wall than the money,” Haggerty said.
Among the other patents that Noble was recently awarded were:
- A patent that protects certain information, such as the sounds of the touch tones heard when an individual keys a credit card number into a phone, from being heard by a call center agent
- A patent that predicts the best time for an agent to call the work or mobile phone of an individual – provided the agent has consent to call the mobile phone.
- A patent that determines the local time for a location where a mobile device is located, to make sure that collection agents are calling within the time window set forth by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
“Jim Noble thought it was important to protect our technology,” Haggerty said. “He wants to convey to the industry that we consider ourselves big innovators. Patents are a way to show – that you’re not only innovating, but innovating in a patentable way. We’re trying to provide customers and clients with the latest and greatest technology.”