Vlingo Announces Victory in Patent Trial with Nuance Communications

Jurors Found No Evidence of Infringement

Aug 09, 2011, 22:46 ET from Vlingo Corporation

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.  

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In its ruling the jury found that Vlingo did not infringe on any of the 30 claims of infringement asserted by Nuance.

To reach this verdict the jury heard testimony from one of the inventors of the '295 Patent, experts in the speech recognition systems field, a patent lawyer and employees from both Nuance and Vlingo.  The testimony and evidence put forth to the jury failed to prove that Vlingo in any way infringed.

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.

"The ruling by the jury is further vindication that Nuance cannot compete in the market, said Dave Grannan, president & CEO, Vlingo.  "We are happy to report that with this latest ruling, Nuance's record remains perfect in patent infringement trials, they haven't won any."

"For the market as a whole, we are happy to report we have successfully defended the Vlingo and AT&T Watson technology from the patent litigation tactics of Nuance," Grannan continued. "Rapid innovation and a diversity of suppliers is very important to our industry, and since Nuance acquired the IBM speech assets the Vlingo/AT&T system is really one of the few remaining alternatives to Nuance in the market. We are happy to report that in conjunction with AT&T we will continue providing an alternative.  Vlingo's new innovative technology doesn't infringe Nuance's old patent. Vlingo also has pending against Nuance in Delaware a patent infringement case asserting Nuance infringes patents owned by Vlingo."

In addition, all claims in '295 patent have been found invalid by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in a reexamination proceeding.

"It's distasteful that Nuance engages in this abuse of the legal system because it clogs our courts and stifles innovation," said Mike Phillips, CTO, Vlingo.  "We hope this ruling demonstrates to the market and our customers that Vlingo won't be bullied by these tactics and will continue to deliver on innovation."

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."

"It's a new level of absurdity," said Mike Phillips, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Vlingo. "Nuance actually used an academic research paper from Interspeech 2011, a well known research conference, to accuse Vlingo of running infringing experiments.  I have been attending these conferences for decades and have never seen anything this ridiculous. "

"We saw Nuance issued a press release tonight on this jury ruling with the headline: 'Jury Returns Mixed Verdict in Nuance Patent Lawsuit Against Vlingo,' "said Grannan. "That's like the Red Sox beating the Yankees in the World Series, and then seeing the Yankees issue a press release saying: 'World Series Returns Mixed Result, Red Sox Win but Yankees got More Hits.'"

About Vlingo

Vlingo is a Virtual Assistant that turns your words into action by combining voice to text technology, natural language processing, and Vlingo's Intent Engine to understand the user's intent and take the appropriate action. Simply speak to your phone to connect with the people, businesses and activities that are important to you.  Vlingo is the safest and easiest way to get things done while on the go. Send text and email messages, search the web, use Google maps, update Twitter and more. Founded in 2006, Vlingo is backed by Charles River Ventures, Sigma Partners, Yahoo! and AT&T and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, go to www.vlingo.com.

SOURCE Vlingo Corporation