Among patent assignments recently made public by the USPTO is the transfer of more than two dozen assets generally related to speech recognition and/or processing from Nuance Communications to a Delaware LLC. The transaction, dated January 1, 2021, followed by two and a half months the execution of an assignment of two US patents, also broadly directed to speech recognition, to the same LLC from another player in the space. This collection of similar assets suggests that additional patent cases may be on the verge of joining a slew of speech recognition campaigns spread out across nearly all stages of the litigation life cycle.
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Inventor-controlled Vocalife LLC has filed new suits, one against each of Alphabet (Google) (2:21-cv-00124) and Samsung (Harman) (2:21-cv-00123) in the Eastern District of Texas, where the same plaintiff and Amazon are briefing posttrial motions to District Judge Rodney Gilstrap in the wake of an October 2020 $5M infringement verdict. Vocalife asserts two reissue patents in the new complaints, targeting the defendants’ respective provision of “virtual assistant smart speakers and other hardware and software implementing a microphone array system”, including Google Assistant-enabled products (identifying Google’s Home and Harman’s Kardon Citation products).
As post-trial briefing gets underway in the Eastern District of Texas, following an October 2020 $5M infringement verdict there, Vocalife LLC has hit the same defendant, Amazon (2:20-cv-00401), with a second suit. The plaintiff targets the identical product set, “virtual assistant smart speakers that utilize a microphone array system”, naming Amazon’s Echo products, this time with a second reissue of the same underlying patent, generally related to enhancing a sound signal by processing multiple signals from an array of microphones. The issues in Vocalife’s first case were whittled down to just post-filing inducement of Echo end users, with the new complaint alleging both direct and indirect infringement of the new reissue, dated December 29, 2020.