A company named SpeakWare is suing Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, claiming that all three are infringing on one of its patents.
Specifically, it claims that the tech trio are illegally using technology described in SpeakWare’s 2002 patent for “Hands-Free, Voice-Operated Remote Control Transmitter.” The allegedly infringing products are voice-activated systems which are used to control appliances. In Apple’s case, that’s Siri.
SpeakWare’s formal complaint against Apple notes that, “Apple has developed, manufactured, imported, offered for sale, sold, and used voice-activated systems for controlling appliances that infringe the [company’s 2002] patent. These systems include Apple iPhones (6s or later), iPads (6th generation or later and “Pro”), and HomePods, all of which use Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant, Siri, to control appliances.”
In addition, the complaint brings up the Apple TV, “which work in connection with the accused devices to control appliances.” The case has been filed with the California Central District Court, although no judge has yet been assigned.
The no. 1 target for patent lawsuits
The patent Apple and the other companies are allegedly infringing on describes:
“A wireless, programmable, sound-activated and voice-operated remote control transmitter [which] can be used to add hands-free speech control operation to a plurality of remotely controlled appliances manufactured by various manufacturers, each of which is normally controlled with one or more signals from an associated remote control transmitter. The system may be pre-programmed with a universal library of codes for controlling various appliance categories and appliances produced by various manufacturers within each category.”
This isn’t the only recent lawsuit that Apple has been landed with, thanks to Siri. Earlier this month, the company Advanced Voice Recognition Systems sued Apple for supposedly violating its patents.
In both of these cases, it appears that the companies make the majority of their money licensing out their technology to other companies — and suing when an agreement is not reached.
As the biggest tech company in the world, Apple has long been an enormous target for patent lawsuits.
Source: Patently Apple