Latest patent troll accuses Apple’s Siri of infringing a purchased patent

Apple regularly faces lawsuits from patent trolls – companies whose only business is buying patents and then suing companies for alleged infringement of them.

We noted only yesterday one relating to the ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ feature introduced in iOS 11, and today there’s a report of a new claim that Siri infringes a similarly purchased patent …

Patently Apple again spotted the filing.

Advanced Voice Recognition Systems, Inc. (“AVRS”) announced […] that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court-Northern District for Arizona against Apple for infringement of U.S. Patent #7,558,730 entitled “Speech Recognition and Transcription Among Users Having Heterogeneous Protocols” (the “‘730 Patent”) […]

The complaint asserts that Apple’s Siri, a voice-activated intelligent assistant which provides, among other things, voice recognition and natural language understanding solutions, and which is included in many Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, the Apple HomePod and the iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS operating systems, infringes the ‘730 Patent.

The patent itself is written in the usual dense language you expect with such applications, but doesn’t appear to have much bearing on Siri. The patent acknowledges that speech recognition is nothing new, and goes on to describe the challenges of using systems like Dragon Dictate in business environments using a wide variety of often-incompatible systems. It gives ‘a hospital or a radiology imaging practice’ as a specific example.

It could conceivably argue that transcribing a message on an iPhone for sending via Messages to a Mac might count as ‘exchanging generated speech information and/or transcribed spoken text among users who may employ different user protocols,’ but it would be quite the stretch.

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