Apple Sued Over Speech Recognition Software Yet Again

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) use of speech recognition technology is once again the target of a lawsuit. In court documents first spotted by Patently Apple, Apple is being accused of infringing on a 2010 patent titled, “Integration of audio or video program with application program” that is currently owned by a company called Cedatech Holdings. As noted in the lawsuit, the patent covers “a system running an application program, wherein a separate audio or video program is integrated with the application program.”

Cedatech claimed that Apple is infringing this patent by selling products that offer the capability to integrate an audio or video program with a separate application program. While this broad claim would likely involve most of Apple’s products, the lawsuit cited the iPhone 5 and its audio speech recognition feature that works across multiple applications, as an example. Cedatech also claimed that Apple was inducing infringement by instructing consumers to use the speech recognition feature on the iPhone 5.

“The iPhone 5 infringes at least one claim of the ‘591 Patent, at least by providing an audio speech recognition program,” wrote Cedatech in its filed complaint. “This audio speech recognition program provides input into any separate application program running on the operating system.”

The filing of this lawsuit follows Apple’s recently defeated bid to get a Chinese company’s patent on its speech recognition software invalidated. As noted by Xinhua, Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology has similarly accused Apple of infringing on its patent for a “Chat robot system.” However, while Zhizhen’s patent is aimed directly at Siri as an infringing program, it appears that Cedatech’s patent would only target Siri in the specific instances when its speech recognition feature interacted with other applications. Cedatech’s lawsuit would also appear to ensnare Apple’s Dictation feature, since it is designed to work across multiple applications as an assistive technology.