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Tech giants win invalidation of patents for voice-controlled digital assistants


A group of patents related to voice-controlled digital assistants have been invalidated by a Delaware federal court, half of those related to a patent dispute between plaintiff IPA Technologies and defendants Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, The Register reports.

IPA Technologies bought a group of patents from SRI International in 2016, six years after Apple had purchased SRI spinoff Siri. Shortly after buying the patents, IPA launched suits against Dell, HP, Toshiba, Acer, and ASUS, which were settled. It has since sued HTC, Sony, Dish, as well as the above companies, which banded together to challenge the patents.

Three of the patents were ruled in April to be so abstract as to not include an inventive concept, with the judge citing a 2014 Supreme Court decision involving patents from Alice Corporation. IPA appealed, and added three new patents to its claim. The appeal was decided with the three previously invalidated patents quashed, but the three newly introduced patents upheld.

The Register notes that while IPA is not in a weaker position, and certain potential licensing claims have been eliminated, the case is still ongoing.

With voice biometrics enabling services like banking to be delivered through virtual personal assistants, the global voice and speech recognition market is forecasted to reach $6.9 billion by 2025.

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