Apple slapped with patent suit over Siri’s natural language abilities

“Non-practicing entity Portal Communications on Thursday filed suit against Apple for alleged infringement of three patents related to natural language voice and audio query systems, technology similar to that of the company’s Siri virtual assistant,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“In its filing with the patent holder friendly Eastern Texas District Court, Portal leverages three related patents invented by Dave Bernard, CEO of technology solutions firm The Intellection Group,” Campbell reports. “Each patent deals with methods of parsing user queries from natural language patterns into machine decipherable commands, whether they be voice or text”

“Portal alleges Siri infringes on each of the patents-in-suit, as the voice assistant is capable of understanding, or makes an attempt to understand, natural language queries,” Campbell reports. “Portal’s complaint targets all iPhone and iPad models, a slew of Macs dating back to 2009, iPod touch, Apple Watch Series 3, the fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple TV 4K and HomePod. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Rocket docket!

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  1. A likely problem with this patent troll lawsuit:

    Apple doesn’t own the speech-to-text technology used in Siri. It’s owned by Nuance and licensed by Apple. What’s left is technology for traversing a database with a query then providing the response to text-to-speech technology, all of which Apple does own and does not appear to apply to the lawsuit.

    IOW: Sorry patent troll! Now get lost.

    1. And I should add that Nuance’s speech-to-text technology is derived from patents established by Dragon several decades ago. Therefore, that’s a dead end for the sad patent troll.

      Putting 1 + 1 together, I suspect Dave Bernard, CEO of The Intellection Group is SOL thanks to prior art, aka patents invalidated. But we’ll see.

    2. I just read one of the patents in suit. It’s an idea patent which relies on a black box to do its voice translation. The inventor has no clue how he’s going to convert voice into a machine usable form so he conflates using readily available “off-the-shelf” voice recognition, natural language processing and grammar software to easily parse anyone’s spoken queries without training the software for a specific voice (although he admits the failing of all current software because it REQUIRES hours of training to an individual voice) because his system will, by combining all of the off-the-shelf software, somehow using that same off-the-shelf stuff, using a remote PC with Microsoft VISUAL SPEECH SERVER, and something he calls an English Query Runtime Engine (no explanation of how it works), recognize everyone’s voice, convert it to text, break it down to discrete searchable pre-programmed queries, find the best matches, etc. . . And come up with an answer. And THAT is the equivalent to Siri and all other digital voice assistants. . . and he invented it, in 2006. . . claiming priority in a computer that can talk and hear you using spoken English commands. . . Having never seen Star Trek’s computer. Right, sure.

      1. *sigh* IOW, once again this is a story about how incompetent the US Trademark and Patent Office is in the USA. Vague patent. No adequate prior art search. Lawsuits result. #MyStupidGovernment at work.

        So rather than fix and fund it, let’s Feed The Rich, ad nauseam. I have this picture in my mind of all the parasitic Rich people looking like the Suicide King from a pack of cards: Thrusting knives into their own heads. Well done, financial game ‘winners’. 😛

        That as a nice rant. Now back to tech…

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