New patent lawsuit targets Apple over voice control tech in Siri- & HomeKit-enabled device...

Posted:
in iPhone
A fellow Californian company, SpeakWare, on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of violating a U.S. voice control patent.

Siri on iPhone


Apple is allegedly infringing on the patent -- "Hands-Free, Voice-Operated Remote Control Transmitter" -- by way of developing products that control accessories. These include iPhones, iPads, and the HomePod, as well as linking platforms, namely Siri and HomeKit.

The patent was awarded in 2002, and Apple has supposedly been aware of it since at least March 2014, when it was cited in a patent application. The company is in fact claimed to have cited it repeatedly, listing it as prior art in 46 patents and patent applications.

As compensation, SpeakWare is asking for damages with pre- and post-judgement interest, plus legal fees.

The firm appears to have little presence online, and is most likely a patent "troll" hoping to win an an out-of-court settlement. Apple is regularly targeted by similar lawsuits, many of which fail before reaching either settlement or trial.

There are exceptions. In April, for instance, Apple was ordered to pay VirnetX $502.6 million for supposed infringements in platforms like FaceTime and iMessage.

SpeakWare Lawsuit by Mikey Campbell on Scribd

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    So I’m sure they will soon add google and amazon to this lawsuit...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    Don't forget Samsung. I'm sure that Bixby would love to be invited to the party.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,114moderator
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe.  It’s difficult to write a patent that prevents someone working around it by adding, deleting or modifying some part of the claimed invention, just enough to escape infringement.

    Patents aren’t always about protecting inventions from infringement; they’re often about staking a claim in a space so that you don’t get sued for infringing someone else's patent.  And I think that’s a fair use.  It’s not such a noble pursuit when a non-practicing entity scopes out a piece of real estate in some new/emerging space for the express purpose of building a toll road there, charging any entity that intends to actually invent in that space something that would serve a market or society at large.  
    edited July 2018 dewmebadmonkwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 15
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,124member
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe.  It’s difficult to write a patent that prevents someone working around it by adding, deleting or modifying some part of the claimed invention, just enough to escape infringement.

    Patents aren’t always about protecting inventions from infringement; they’re often about staking a claim in a space so that you don’t get sued for infringing someone else's patent.  And I think that’s a fair use.  It’s not such a noble pursuit when a non-practicing entity scopes out a piece of real estate in some new/emerging space for the express purpose of building a toll road there, charging any entity that intends to actually invent in that space something that would serve a market or society at large.  
    Agreed. Patent portfolios are also good for defusing large, costly, and drawn out disagreements between competitors/adversaries, or even once-friends that have become competitors/adversaries. For example, Apple and QualComm. A nice little cross licensing agreement, a few handshakes, and everyone walks away with a smile and nobody loses face. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobrajony0Alex1N
  • Reply 5 of 15
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,039member
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe.  It’s difficult to write a patent that prevents someone working around it by adding, deleting or modifying some part of the claimed invention, just enough to escape infringement.

    Patents aren’t always about protecting inventions from infringement; they’re often about staking a claim in a space so that you don’t get sued for infringing someone else's patent.  And I think that’s a fair use.  It’s not such a noble pursuit when a non-practicing entity scopes out a piece of real estate in some new/emerging space for the express purpose of building a toll road there, charging any entity that intends to actually invent in that space something that would serve a market or society at large.  
    Unless you make your patent sound as permissibly vague as possible.
    Like, controlling a device with a voice, by utilizing computing systems for processing.

    I am surprised we can't patent "do stuff with stuff". What a wonderful patent that would be... until someone destroys it with prior art claim.
    edited July 2018 muthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 15
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe. 
    Apple did not try to hide the existence of SpeakWare's prior art.  Apple actually went out of its way to make sure patent examiners were also aware of the prior art.  That patent examiner awarded Apple a patent for its newly developed IP speaks loudly to the fact that Apple's solution does not infringe on SpeakWare's IP.

    SpeakWare is suing because Apple has refused to accept SpeakWare's claims and refuses to pay licensing fees.  This suit is going nowhere, except maybe the trash can.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 7 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,904member
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe.  It’s difficult to write a patent that prevents someone working around it by adding, deleting or modifying some part of the claimed invention, just enough to escape infringement.

    Patents aren’t always about protecting inventions from infringement; they’re often about staking a claim in a space so that you don’t get sued for infringing someone else's patent.  And I think that’s a fair use.  It’s not such a noble pursuit when a non-practicing entity scopes out a piece of real estate in some new/emerging space for the express purpose of building a toll road there, charging any entity that intends to actually invent in that space something that would serve a market or society at large.  
    Unless you make your patent sound as permissibly vague as possible.
    Like, controlling a device with a voice, by utilizing computing systems for processing.

    I am surprised we can't patent "do stuff with stuff". What a wonderful patent that would be... until someone destroys it with prior art claim.
    I think that's the goal with most of the patents being filed by Apple, IBM, Samsung, Google and thousands of other large companies. Make the claims as vague as the USPTO will accept in order to cover any and all use-cases now and in the future whether anticipated or not. Even then too often with no intent to use the patented claims in a shipping product, which is absolutely counter to the reason for our patent systems in the first place: to encourage the development of new and useful products that benefit the community at large. It's all a game.
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 15
    dewme said:
    Patent portfolios are also good for defusing large, costly, and drawn out disagreements between competitors/adversaries, or even once-friends that have become competitors/adversaries.
    A great example of "once-friends" is from Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) dealings with Intel.  DEC was shopping for a second source to manufacture its Alpha processor.

    At the time Intel's X86 architecture had hit a clock speed wall.  Pushing it any further made it unbearably hot.  After examining the Alpha's design (at DEC's request) Intel incorporated significant elements of that design into its next-generation processors called Pentium.  DEC sued and Intel agreed to buy DEC's fab and the Alpha design.

    Funny thing about the Alpha chip.  Motorola was running into a clock speed wall itself with the 68000 family of processors.  Jobs approached DEC about using the Alpha in future Macs.  DEC's founder and CEO (Bob Olson) refused to consider Apple's overture as he believed the Mac was doomed.  Shortly after the settlement with Intel Olson was forced to step down and the Company was sold to Compaq Computers.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 9 of 15
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,039member
    gatorguy said:
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe.  It’s difficult to write a patent that prevents someone working around it by adding, deleting or modifying some part of the claimed invention, just enough to escape infringement.

    Patents aren’t always about protecting inventions from infringement; they’re often about staking a claim in a space so that you don’t get sued for infringing someone else's patent.  And I think that’s a fair use.  It’s not such a noble pursuit when a non-practicing entity scopes out a piece of real estate in some new/emerging space for the express purpose of building a toll road there, charging any entity that intends to actually invent in that space something that would serve a market or society at large.  
    Unless you make your patent sound as permissibly vague as possible.
    Like, controlling a device with a voice, by utilizing computing systems for processing.

    I am surprised we can't patent "do stuff with stuff". What a wonderful patent that would be... until someone destroys it with prior art claim.
    I think that's the goal with most of the patents being filed by Apple, IBM, Samsung, Google and thousands of other large companies. 
    Sure, but at least, they actually do something useful with it, instead of creating a patent for a patent troll...
    Given a patent system that allowes only one of two options: patenting round corners and sliding unlocking feature (deliberately detailed patent) vs “do stuff with stuff” type of a patent, I would prefer the former....primarily because it is useless for patent trolls.
    edited July 2018 watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 15
    dewme said:
    Patent portfolios are also good for defusing large, costly, and drawn out disagreements between competitors/adversaries, or even once-friends that have become competitors/adversaries.
    A great example of "once-friends" is from Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) dealings with Intel.  DEC was shopping for a second source to manufacture its Alpha processor.

    At the time Intel's X86 architecture had hit a clock speed wall.  Pushing it any further made it unbearably hot.  After examining the Alpha's design (at DEC's request) Intel incorporated significant elements of that design into its next-generation processors called Pentium.  DEC sued and Intel agreed to buy DEC's fab and the Alpha design.

    Funny thing about the Alpha chip.  Motorola was running into a clock speed wall itself with the 68000 family of processors.  Jobs approached DEC about using the Alpha in future Macs.  DEC's founder and CEO (Bob Olson) refused to consider Apple's overture as he believed the Mac was doomed.  Shortly after the settlement with Intel Olson was forced to step down and the Company was sold to Compaq Computers.
    I think you mean Ken Olsen. (ex Dec employee). From memory, it was several years after Ken O stepped down and Compaq bought the business.

    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,278member
    Typically, if your patent is cited as prior art in 46 of someone else’s patents, it’d be a fair bet they looked hard at your patent and either decided they aren’t infringing or they picked apart your claims and engineered their solutions to ensure they don’t infringe.  It’s difficult to write a patent that prevents someone working around it by adding, deleting or modifying some part of the claimed invention, just enough to escape infringement.

    Patents aren’t always about protecting inventions from infringement; they’re often about staking a claim in a space so that you don’t get sued for infringing someone else's patent.  And I think that’s a fair use.  It’s not such a noble pursuit when a non-practicing entity scopes out a piece of real estate in some new/emerging space for the express purpose of building a toll road there, charging any entity that intends to actually invent in that space something that would serve a market or society at large.  
    Unless you make your patent sound as permissibly vague as possible.
    Like, controlling a device with a voice, by utilizing computing systems for processing.

    I am surprised we can't patent "do stuff with stuff". What a wonderful patent that would be... until someone destroys it with prior art claim.
    It’s exactly why software shouldn’t be patentable and instead rely on coppyright protection to prevent outright theft. The ideas are separate from the implementation. Parenting “a flying car” (idea) won’t work, but patenting how your car flies (implementation) does. Should be the same with software...the idea is free and easy, but the coded solution is the hard part and is already protected by copyright. 
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 12 of 15
    I think you mean Ken Olsen. (ex Dec employee). From memory, it was several years after Ken O stepped down and Compaq bought the business.

    You got me.  Ken is his correct first name.  Compaq bought DEC 6 years after Olson retired.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 13 of 15
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,560member
    "Hands-Free, Voice-Operated Remote Control Transmitter" - I haven't actually read the patent, but that description is beyond broad; to the point of them trying to patent a concept.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 14 of 15
    FranculesFrancules Posts: 110member
    Apple earns the right. They are number 1. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,329member
    MplsP said:
    "Hands-Free, Voice-Operated Remote Control Transmitter" - I haven't actually read the patent, but that description is beyond broad; to the point of them trying to patent a concept.
    So you want a title that goes into detail of the patent? Try reading the patent and then you'd have an idea if it's too broad.
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