Voice Assistant Patent Infringement Lawsuit Targets Apple, Google, LG and Samsung
Apple’s Siri is at the center of a patent infringement lawsuit filed recently with the United States District Court’s Western District of Texas. Telecommunications company, Parus, claims that Apple infringed on two of their three patents specifically related to acquiring information via voice browsing. The patents were issued in 2006 and 2016 and Apple acquired Siri in 2011. Parus filed similar lawsuits against Google, LG and Samsung within days of their Apple filing.
Below is an excerpt from the first claim, and you can find the full complaint here:
“A system for retrieving information from pre-selected web sites by uttering speech commands into a voice enabled device and for providing to users retrieved information in an audio form via said voice enabled device, said system comprising: a computer, said computer operatively connected to the internet; a voice enabled device operatively connected to said computer, said voice enabled device configured to receive speech commands from users; at least one speaker-independent speech recognition device…”
Siri is accessible on all Apple devices, so the infringement claim is on products across many categories:
- iPhone versions 6s and later
- All Apple iWatches versions
- Some iPad Pros
- 13” and 15” 2018 MacBook Pro
- 13” Retina 2018 MacBook Air
- iMac Pro
Not the First Patent Lawsuit for Apple Siri
In 2016 Apple settled a patent infringement lawsuit with Dynamic Advances and Rensselaer Polytechnic. Rensselaer owned a 2007 patent that Dynamic Advances licensed, in which particular voice features of Siri violated. Apple paid a total of $24.9 million and in exchange received a patent license for the voice technology.
Fast forward three years and Apple closed another lawsuit, this time with semiconductor company Qualcomm. After an eight day trial in federal court, a jury found that Apple infringed on three of Qualcomm’s patents. The payout was a little steeper for Apple at about $31 million. As one of the most valuable companies in the world, these large settlements are not hurting Apple financially, but rather demonstrating the complexities that companies large and small face when developing voice technology.