Judge excuses himself from new Siri-related patent suit, cites conflict of interest

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
New York District Court Judge Gary Sharpe on Tuesday recused himself from presiding over a patent case involving the Siri virtual assistant, saying he had an unspecified interest in Apple.

First reported by CNET, the judge stepped down from a patent suit first lodged on Friday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, which has limited liability company Dynamic Advances asserting claims against Apple and its Siri voice recognizing assistant.

According to court records, Sharpe pointed to a U.S. Code that requires a judge to recuse themselves if their impartiality to a case "might be reasonably questioned," and subsequently handed the case over to current presiding Judge David Hurd.

At issue in the newest of Apple's mountain of ongoing worldwide litigation is U.S. Patent No. 7,177,798 for a "Natural language interface using constrained intermediate dictionary of results," which is allegedly infringed upon by Siri.

Natural Voice Patent
Operational flowchart from the '789 patent. | Source: USPTO


While the case is being brought against Apple by Dynamic Advances, which claims it is the exclusive licensee of the patent-in-suit, the original IP was invented by a professor and doctoral candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

From the original complaint:
Dynamic Advances is the exclusive licensee to the ?798 Patent. As such, Rensselaer has transferred all substantial rights to the ?798 Patent to Dynamic Advances, including the exclusive right to sue for infringement and recover damages for all past, present, and future infringement.
Dynamic Advnaces does not mention what exactly it does with its licensed patents, however it appears the company is a non-practicing entity as no further information is given on its operations or history.

The claim goes on to say that the '789 patent covers "methods for processing a natural language input," which describes one of Siri's main features: conversational interaction.

According to the complaint, the '789 patent is pervasive, and has allegedly been cited in "more than 93.5% of issued United States patents," including applications filed by HP, Microsoft, IBM and Google. Apple also cited the published IP during the submittal of "no fewer than three patent applications," including a text-to-speech invention and a property directly associated with Siri technology.

Dynamic Advances is seeking damages, reimbursement of court fees and royalties from Apple for the alleged patent infringement.



Apple is no stranger to complaints involving its Siri technology as the company was hit with two class-action lawsuits for falsely advertising the service earlier this year (1, 2). In July, it was reported that a Chinese company was also bringing claims against Siri over infringement of a similar service called Xiaoi Bot.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    LOL, he would rather recuse himself than sell his shares (presumably that's what it is). And I don't blame him.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post



    LOL, he would rather recuse himself than sell his shares (presumably that's what it is). And I don't blame him.


    Sounds like a smart judge, I don't blame him either.


     


    I would be suspicious of a judge though, if they excused themselves from a RIM patent suit, citing a conflict of interest (stockholder).image

  • Reply 3 of 32
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    Yeah, but if you get a judge that uses Windows, owns Microsoft stock and uses an Android phone, can he also be impartial?

    Can ANYONE truly be impartial when it comes to lawsuits involving companies where the judge and jury actually uses some of the companies' technology or doesn't some of the companies' technology?
  • Reply 4 of 32
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post



    Yeah, but if you get a judge that uses Windows, owns Microsoft stock and uses an Android phone, can he also be impartial?

    Can ANYONE truly be impartial when it comes to lawsuits involving companies where the judge and jury actually uses some of the companies' technology or doesn't some of the companies' technology?


    Almost everybody uses some sort of phone and computer, but I think that the sticking issue is being a stockholder, because then that person has a financial stake in a particular company.

  • Reply 5 of 32
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member


    Ok, I'm off to bed in a minute or two, but not before I leave my parting thoughts.


     


    People and citizens of this country can be glad that I'm not a judge, nor will I ever become a judge. I would probably be so damned biased and I would probably acquit most Apple users of everything, but at least I can admit to my bias.image


     


    Any Fandroid would automatically receive the maximum sentence, regardless of their crime. If this were Russia, I'd ship them off to Siberia for some quality time in that nice, expansive and vast wilderness. There's probably real poor cell coverage and WIFI access in Siberia, but that wouldn't make any difference for Fandroids, as they are hardly on the web with their devices anyway.image


     


    At the end of their sentence, after the Fandroids have repaid their debt to society, they would have to enroll in a 6 month re-education course before they could re-enter civilized society. As a part of this re-education course, they would be taught simple concepts such as "specs do not always tell the whole story", "how to behave on a forum", "how not to be a douche", "how to have some self-respect" and lastly, but not least "how to get a real job, so that you too might somebody be able to afford an Apple device without whining over a couple of dollars". 


     


    Ok, I'm done for now. Good night.image

  • Reply 6 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,470member
    Honest and sensible. Give that judge a raise.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    oflifeoflife Posts: 120member
    Odd, because whilst I have no absolute historical proof they invented and developed it, I was colleagues with the two lead engineers behind Siri (over 10 years ago whilst they were at SRI) and assumed it was their development. I do know they were doing some remarkably stuff with artificial intelligence techniques. It is odd that Apple are being sued now so long after.
  • Reply 8 of 32

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Ok, I'm off to bed in a minute or two, but not before I leave my parting thoughts.


     


    People and citizens of this country can be glad that I'm not a judge, nor will I ever become a judge. I would probably be so damned biased and I would probably acquit most Apple users of everything, but at least I can admit to my bias.image


     


    Any Fandroid would automatically receive the maximum sentence, regardless of their crime. If this were Russia, I'd ship them off to Siberia for some quality time in that nice, expansive and vast wilderness. There's probably real poor cell coverage and WIFI access in Siberia, but that wouldn't make any difference for Fandroids, as they are hardly on the web with their devices anyway.image


     


    At the end of their sentence, after the Fandroids have repaid their debt to society, they would have to enroll in a 6 month re-education course before they could re-enter civilized society. As a part of this re-education course, they would be taught simple concepts such as "specs do not always tell the whole story", "how to behave on a forum", "how not to be a douche", "how to have some self-respect" and lastly, but not least "how to get a real job, so that you too might somebody be able to afford an Apple device without whining over a couple of dollars". 


     


    Ok, I'm done for now. Good night.image



     


    Ha, though I'd argue you were being too lenient. 


     


    I honestly don't think I could employ someone who was a Fandroid. What's the law regarding that? Can I discriminate on grounds of mobile choice?! 

  • Reply 9 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,393member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Oflife View Post



    Odd, because whilst I have no absolute historical proof they invented and developed it, I was colleagues with the two lead engineers behind Siri (over 10 years ago whilst they were at SRI) and assumed it was their development. I do know they were doing some remarkably stuff with artificial intelligence techniques. It is odd that Apple are being sued now so long after.


    They could have come up with it all on their own, so it wouldn't mean they knowingly stole any IP. Another person/company could still have previously developed/patented a similar usage unbeknownst to your colleagues. 

  • Reply 10 of 32

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    As a part of this re-education course, they would be taught simple concepts such as "specs do not always tell the whole story", "how to behave on a forum", "how not to be a douche", "how to have some self-respect" and lastly, but not least "how to get a real job, so that you too might somebody be able to afford an Apple device without whining over a couple of dollars". 



     


     


    Funny, considering how from the tone of most of posts, you should be signing yourself up for at least two of those classes (hint: I put them in bold for you).

  • Reply 11 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,776member
    drblank wrote: »
    Yeah, but if you get a judge that uses Windows, owns Microsoft stock and uses an Android phone, can he also be impartial?
    Can ANYONE truly be impartial when it comes to lawsuits involving companies where the judge and jury actually uses some of the companies' technology or doesn't some of the companies' technology?

    That was my immediate thought. The iHate level is quite amazing out there.
  • Reply 12 of 32

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post



    Yeah, but if you get a judge that uses Windows, owns Microsoft stock and uses an Android phone, can he also be impartial?

    Can ANYONE truly be impartial when it comes to lawsuits involving companies where the judge and jury actually uses some of the companies' technology or doesn't some of the companies' technology?


    so if a judge has a mercedes he can't be impartial in anything related to them?

  • Reply 13 of 32
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post


    so if a judge has a mercedes he can't be impartial in anything related to them?



     


    It would be more a question whether that judge owned stock in Daimler AG.

  • Reply 14 of 32


    Originally Posted by drblank View Post

    Yeah, but if you get a judge that uses Windows, owns Microsoft stock and uses an Android phone, can he also be impartial?

    Can ANYONE truly be impartial when it comes to lawsuits involving companies where the judge and jury actually uses some of the companies' technology or doesn't some of the companies' technology?


     


    Yep. Just gotta scoop up some BSD nerds from their dungeon/basement/further words in this regard and teach them law. 


     


    Have them hate Google, Apple, and Microsoft equally. That'll be fair. image

  • Reply 15 of 32
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,196member
    ascii wrote: »
    LOL, he would rather recuse himself than sell his shares (presumably that's what it is). And I don't blame him.

    Owning stock is not necessarily cause to recuse. Frankly it could merely be that he doesn't want to get crapped on by the blogs etc like Koh and is using this as a way to get out of the job. Or he simply feels he can't be impartial because he's too much of an Apple fan. Maybe he even has family members that work for the company.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,196member
    oflife wrote: »
    Odd, because whilst I have no absolute historical proof they invented and developed it, I was colleagues with the two lead engineers behind Siri (over 10 years ago whilst they were at SRI) and assumed it was their development. I do know they were doing some remarkably stuff with artificial intelligence techniques. It is odd that Apple are being sued now so long after.

    Assuming it was exactly the same conversation thing before Apple bought it, yea and no on the odd. Unlike trademark there is no requirement to sue right off so companies will ignore something if the offending group is small and the pay out will be also. But when a major player with big pockets like Apple comes in, they hit the courts fast and hard, because legally they can
  • Reply 17 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,393member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post





    Assuming it was exactly the same conversation thing before Apple bought it, yea and no on the odd. Unlike trademark there is no requirement to sue right off so companies will ignore something if the offending group is small and the pay out will be also. But when a major player with big pockets like Apple comes in, they hit the courts fast and hard, because legally they can


    Agreed!


     


    No doubt there's many companies that might be infringing on Apple IP, either intentionally or unknowingly. Some of those Apple may be completely aware of, yet not bother with a lawsuit as they're not a competitive danger. Others they may not even know about.

  • Reply 18 of 32


    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

    Some of those Apple may be completely aware of, yet not bother with a lawsuit as they're not a competitive danger.


     


    You ALMOST got me. I had the tab closed before I realized the implications of what this said.


     


    No, no.

  • Reply 19 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,393member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    You ALMOST got me. I had the tab closed before I realized the implications of what this said.


     


    No, no.



    So you're that certain that RIM doesn't use any Apple IP? 


     


    and how about LG's Android phones as another example? Samsung, HTC, and Moto who all had or have high-profile well-reviewed smartphones all got Apple's legal attention, yet the smaller LG doesn't? Not very likely TS.

  • Reply 20 of 32
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,569member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Oflife View Post



     It is odd that Apple are being sued now so long after.


    Deeper pockets.

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