Small firm takes on Apple, Google, over voice patent

Potter Voice is suing most mobile device makers over a patent on voice control of devices

Apple, Google, Microsoft and all major smartphone vendors were slapped with a lawsuit Wednesday by Potter Voice Technologies, an obscure Colorado company that claims they are infringing its patent on natural-language voice control of a computer.

Potter sued the 15 vendors and their affiliated companies in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The suit revolves around Apple's Siri app and Google Voice Commands, as well as a technology called Windows Speech Commands. It cites a single U.S. patent, number 5,729,659, which was issued to Jerry L. Potter in 1998.

Other companies named in the suit include Nokia, Research In Motion, Samsung Electronics, Sony, LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility, ZTE, Huawei Technologies, Kyocera, Sharp and Pantech.

Patent litigation among mobile device makers has become fast and furious in recent years as the lucrative mobile market has grown quickly. Potter's suit is notable for its broad range of targets and the fact that it comes from a largely unknown company. Potter Voice lists an address in Brighton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.

Potter is seeking damages to be determined at trial, "but in no event less than a reasonable royalty" against all the companies named, according to the complaint filed Wednesday. It is also seeking injunctions against the companies and attorney's fees.

But the company is taking special aim at Apple, Microsoft and Sony, which it claims must have known about the patent and therefore are guilty of willful infringement. Potter says the patent was cited in a 2004 case involving SRI International, which developed Siri. Apple acquired Siri from SRI, a Silicon Valley research and development company. Willful infringement allows for increased damages.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?