Apple seeks patent for Siri automated assistant

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple is seeking ownership of the technology and features that drive its voice-controlled Siri personal assistant found on iOS devices.

Patent 1


The company's extensive 51-page application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is entitled "Intelligent Automated Assistant." The patent application continuation, discovered this week by AppleInsider, describes a system that "engages with the user in an integrated, conversational manner using natural dialog, and invokes external services when appropriate to obtain information or perform various actions."

The filing describes many of the already established features of the software, and includes screenshots of the original iPhone application that Apple acquired.

Among the inventors listed on the application is Dag Kittlaus, one of the co-founders of the original Siri company that Apple acquired. Kittlaus left Apple last year after the iPhone 4S launched and debuted Siri.

In the application, Apple notes that complex smartphones have multiple applications each with their own user interface, which can be "burdensome to learn or overwhelming for users."

"Many users may have difficulty even discovering what functionality and/or information is available on their electronic devices or on various websites," the filing states. "Thus, such users may become frustrated over overwhelmed, or may simply be unable to use the resources available to them in an effective manner."

Patent 2


Apple's solution is a personal assistant that talks to users in a conversational style, and can engage with the user in the form of speech, graphics, and text entry.

In one example, a person on a phone call would tell Siri to "send him a text message." The system would intelligently determine that the user is referring to the person they are currently on the phone call with.

A list of categories where Siri could present information detailed in the application includes local services, such as nearby businesses; personal and social memory services, like notes and calendar events; e-commerce, including online purchases of books or DVDs; and travel services, such as flight or hotel information.

Published by the USPTO this week, the filing was first made by Apple in June of this year, and is a continuation of a patent filing made in January of 2011. Other associated patents date back as far as 2006. In addition to Kittlaus, the proposed invention is credited to Thomas Robert Gruber, Adam John Cheyer, Didier Rene Guzzoni, Christopher Dean Brigham, Richard Donald Giuli, Marcello Bastea-forte, and Harry Joseph Saddler.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Apple is seeking ownership of the technology and features that drive its voice-controlled Siri personal assistant found on iOS devices.
    <div align="center"><img src="http://photos.appleinsidercdn.com/patent-120926-1.jpg" border="0" width="500" height="351" alt="Patent 1" /></div>

    I really wish that people who don't understand patents would stop writing articles and headlines.

    You do not patent features. You do not seek a patent for the Siri automated assistant.

    You file for a patent on specific implementations of specific features. If Apple has something novel that's a part of Siri, they can apply for a patent on that and can protect only that specific implementation. They most certainly can not patent the idea of a virtual assistant.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    J, I understand your point... However, did you read the actual patent application?? Perhaps that is just what they did.

    This is a 50 page ADDITION to the original set of patents that were granted. So I am guessing that this is additional feature and implementation with details.

    Just a thought here.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    What rubbish. Gene Roddenberry had talking computers on the Enterprise 45 years ago... and when the Enterprise-A came about, the computers were designed to interact with a conversational style.
  • Reply 4 of 14

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Evertype View Post



    What rubbish. Gene Roddenberry had talking computers on the Enterprise 45 years ago... and when the Enterprise-A came about, the computers were designed to interact with a conversational style.


     


    When I invent a transporter and a warp drive one day, you can be damn sure I will be patenting them. Sorry Gene.

  • Reply 5 of 14
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    evertype wrote: »
    What rubbish. Gene Roddenberry had talking computers on the Enterprise 45 years ago... and when the Enterprise-A came about, the computers were designed to interact with a conversational style.

    See my comment above.

    Apple is not attempting to patent voice communication with computers. A patent covers a very specific implementation.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Evertype View Post



    What rubbish. Gene Roddenberry had talking computers on the Enterprise 45 years ago... and when the Enterprise-A came about, the computers were designed to interact with a conversational style.


    Yeah, and Apple patented rounded rectangles too!


    /s

  • Reply 7 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,363member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    See my comment above.

    Apple is not attempting to patent voice communication with computers. A patent covers a very specific implementation.


    If you haven't read it how can can you be sure what they're attempting to patent or how specific their claims are?


     


    With a 51 page patent application I've little doubt that Apple is attempting to be as broad with it's claims as they can possibly get past the PTSO. If they believe they can, for most intents, essentially patent 2-way voice communication at least enough to threaten a lawsuit against anyone else using it, there's nothing in their history to indicate they won't try to, and a 51-page application should be a hint. Of course that doesn't mean the patent office will approve it as is. If their claims are particularly broad it may be years before back and forth communications on what the patent office will and won't accept for claims limits is clear. That's how I see it anyways.

  • Reply 8 of 14
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    If you haven't read it how can can you be sure what they're attempting to patent or how specific their claims are?

    With a 51 page patent application I've little doubt that Apple is attempting to be as broad with it's claims as they can possibly get past the PTSO. If they believe they can, for most intents, essentially patent 2-way voice communication at least enough to threaten a lawsuit against anyone else using it, there's nothing in their history to indicate they won't try to, and a 51-page application should be a hint. Of course that doesn't mean the patent office will approve it as is. If their claims are particularly broad it may be years before back and forth communications on what the patent office will and won't accept for claims limits is clear. That's how I see it anyways.

    Yes, of course. You always see things in an anti-Apple way.

    I don't need to read the patent application. I know how the patent office works and what the rules are. You can't patent a feature. You can only patent a specific implementation. Since I didn't comment on this particular application in any more general terms than that, reading the application is irrelevant. It is enough to tell people that Apple can't get a patent on a concept like voice recognition - which is exactly what I said.

    They might apply for something that's too broad and needs to be pared down, but they can't get a patent on something as broad as voice recognition.
  • Reply 9 of 14


    Originally Posted by Evertype View Post

    What rubbish. Gene Roddenberry had talking computers on the Enterprise 45 years ago... and when the Enterprise-A came about, the computers were designed to interact with a conversational style.


     


    You're sure about that? You're sure? They spent billions to create an AI with perfect content-to-synthesized-speech for a sci-fi television show? 



    You're SURE it wasn't just the voice of the creator's wife reading prewritten lines offscreen until her voice could be clearly dubbed in post production? POSITIVE about that? 

  • Reply 10 of 14

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    Originally Posted by Evertype View Post

    What rubbish. Gene Roddenberry had talking computers on the Enterprise 45 years ago... and when the Enterprise-A came about, the computers were designed to interact with a conversational style.


     


    You're sure about that? You're sure? They spent billions to create an AI with perfect content to synthesized speech for a scifi television show? 



    You're SURE it wasn't just the voice of the creator's wife reading prewritten lines offscreen until her voice could be clearly dubbed in post production? POSITIVE about that? 



    Well, I'm absolutely sure of it...


    They would never put something on Star Trek that wasn't true!


    Although, I do think I liked the one on Galaxy Quest even more.

  • Reply 11 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,363member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

    I don't need to read the patent application (Of course not). I know how the patent office works and what the rules are (Of course you do). You can't patent a feature. You can only patent a specific implementation. Since I didn't comment on this particular application in any more general terms than that (except that you did), reading the application is irrelevant (since there's nothing left for you to learn). It is enough to tell people that Apple can't get a patent on a concept like voice recognition - which is exactly what I said (not).

    They might apply for something that's too broad and needs to be pared down, but they can't get a patent on something as broad as voice recognition.


    In post 6 you specifically stated they were "not attempting to patent voice communication with computers".


    If you want to now change what you're saying, that Apple won't successfully patent voice recognition as a feature, I'd agree with that opinion. But for you to state emphatically what they are not attempting to do without even looking at the patent application claims is totally and completely unsubstantiated, particularly after admitting you've no idea what the patent app says. Another of your guesses you're trying to pass off as a fact. 


     


    Your should look at your own posts with the same critical and sometimes petty eye you tend to look at others with.

  • Reply 12 of 14
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    Next up, patent the idea of a deity.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    From what I've seen so far, it's not really new. First, the voice recognition technology is Nuance's engine (Nuance was also out of SRI where Siri came from), which has been around for decades and starting hitting the same high recognition rates since the late 90s.

    Second, there were similar services that through voice command fetched data or information from the Internet when voice was hot in 2000-2001. TellMe, BeVocal, HeyAnita, etc. Same things such as, "Find me a flight from San Francisco to New York on May 5th returning on May 16th". This was back in 2000.

    Apple seems to be trying to patent process and flow, which should have died with most of the process patents from the 90s.
  • Reply 14 of 14


    I am more excited with the soon to launch app called Talker, totally heads-up and hands-free. Talker is always listening for your spoken command. Very useful for people on the go esp when your on the road driving.


    Truly hands-offs.

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