In its August 9, 2011 press release available at PRNewswire, Vlingo states:
Vlingo Corporation, the maker of the Virtual Assistant that turns your words into actions today announced a jury in Federal District Court in Boston found that Vlingo did not infringe on U.S. Patent No 6,766,295 (the '295 Patent) entitled "Adaptation of a Speech Recognition System across Multiple Remote Sessions with a Speaker" as alleged by Nuance Communications.
Specifically, Nuance alleged that two Vlingo commercial systems infringed the '295 patent: the Vlingo/IBM system and the Vlingo/AT&T Watson system. Vlingo uses speech recognition systems developed by IBM and AT&T to build its products. The jury found neither system infringed. Ironically, the IBM speech recognition system used in the Vlingo solution was acquired by Nuance in 2009, and Vlingo is a customer of Nuance's for the IBM engine. So, in alleging the Vlingo/IBM system infringed, Nuance was claiming a customer of its own technology infringed its patents – even though this use was consistent with the terms of the license.
A Businessweek Bloomberg article recently reported that Nuance has sued eight companies over alleged patent infringements but that is hasn't won any judgments.
Nuance made the following statements in its August 9, 2011 press release available on the company's website:
Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced that on August 9, 2011 a federal jury in Boston, Massachusetts, returned a verdict in a patent infringement case between Nuance and Vlingo Corp. The jury confirmed the validity of Nuance’s U.S. Patent No. 6,766,295, which Vlingo had claimed was invalid, but found that Vlingo did not implement Nuance’s patented technology. Nuance’s patent relates to methods and systems for automatically adapting speech recognition systems. Nuance filed the lawsuit against Vlingo in 2008.
“We are pleased that the jury rejected Vlingo’s attempt to invalidate our patent, but are disappointed that the jury held that Vlingo does not infringe that patent,” said Jo-Anne Sinclair, Nuance senior vice president and general counsel. “While we respect the jury system, we believe our patent has been infringed by Vlingo. We intend to appeal today’s verdict and believe Nuance has a strong position based on both the facts and the law. Creating new technology and bringing innovations to the market are at the core of Nuance’s business. We cannot and will not remain silent while others take and use our innovations.”
Nuance currently has several other lawsuits pending against Vlingo, both in the United States and abroad. None of these other cases are affected by the jury verdict in this case.
Based on statements by Vlingo's CEO, it appears that he does not believe such an appeal by Nuance will be successful. Dave Grannan, President and CEO of Vlingo, said, “The USPTO has presented a second office action confirming its rejection of all claims 1-54 of U.S Patent No 6,766,295 citing that the inventor has provided insufficient evidence of non-obviousness. Article One has been critical to Vlingo’s success within the legal system. Article One provided detailed evidence which the USPTO analyzed and concluded that substantial questions exist regarding these claims of patentability.
“Rapid innovation and a diversity of suppliers are very important to our industry, and as an industry leader we understand the value of intellectual property and the need to protect innovation. Companies like Nuance Communications abuse the legal system only to clog our courts and stifle innovation. However, Article One’s community of expert researchers has allowed us to remain focused on innovation and to continue to deliver top-notch products to the marketplace without delay.”
Cheryl Milone, CEO of Article One Partners, said, “Article One Partners congratulates Vlingo on its victory in this case, and was pleased to play an important role in Vlingo’s defense strategy. In this case, despite the jury decision that the patent is valid, the U.S. Patent Office has issued two rejections of all of the claims in the patent through a pending reexamination. The evidence the USPTO has relied on is contributed by the Article One community. In the event that the USPTO issues a final determination of invalidity, the patent rights are fully extinguished."
And continuing with the Vlingo press release:
In an absurd allegation, Nuance also asserted that several experiments Vlingo and AT&T conducted in conjunction with AT&T's Watson Speech Engine infringed the '295 patent. These joint experiments were for research purposes only, and never resulted in a commercial product. The jury also ruled that these experiments did not infringe the '295 patent.
"It's a real measure of the desperation of Nuance," said Grannan. "This is clearly an aggressive step by Nuance to attempt to attack AT&T's technology through Vlingo and demonstrates Nuance will go to the ridiculous extreme in its patent troll behavior to try to stifle innovation in our industry."
In other news related to Nuance, on August 10, 2001 it announced a collaboration with UPMC to develop speech and understanding solutions to improve delivery of care:
UPMC and Nuance Communications, Inc., (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced a multi-year, multi-million-dollar innovation collaboration, in which the two industry leaders will develop Medical Intelligence solutions as a means to transform the way patient information is captured, understood and used by caregivers. The goal is to improve the quality and efficiency of care by creating a more complete and accurate electronic medical record (EMR), first across UPMC and then more broadly across the healthcare industry.