Amazon escapes Delaware patent applications on Alexa technology


The Amazon logo is pictured inside the company’s office in Bengaluru, India on April 20, 2018. REUTERS / Abhishek N. Chinnappa

  • Affiliate WiLAN says Alexa infringed digital assistant’s patents
  • Patents purchased from the SRI International research institute
  • Amazon’s technology works differently, court said

(Reuters) – Amazon on Thursday dismissed claims in Delaware federal court that its Alexa voice assistant technology infringed two patents relating to speech-based digital assistant software.

Alexa’s technology for recognizing and responding to speech doesn’t work the same way as patented technology, said U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews.

Amazon and other tech companies have been the subject of numerous lawsuits over virtual assistants, smart devices and related technologies. IPA Technologies Inc, a subsidiary of Canadian patent licensing company WiLAN, owns the relevant patents, which it purchased from the California research institute SRI International.

The IPA first sued Seattle-based Amazon in 2016 and sued several other tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, for allegedly infringing its digital assistant patents.

Andrews ruled that three related patents in the case were invalid in 2019, believing they were directed towards the abstract idea of ​​”recovering data in response to a voice request and passing the recovered data to a user.”

Amazon argued that Alexa, which responds to voice commands and can be used to control Amazon’s smart devices, does not infringe the two remaining patents because it does not use the same method of communication between “electronic agents” with an “expandable platform”. -independent and inter-agent language. “

Andrews agreed on Thursday, finding that Alexa’s purported inter-agent language does not include the “conversational protocol layer” the patent describes and is a “format” instead of a “language.”

Amazon attorney David Hadden of Fenwick & West declined to comment and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. IPA attorneys Paul Skiermont of Skiermont Derby and Stephen Brauerman of Bayard PA also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case is IPA Technologies Inc v. Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No.1: 16-cv-01266.

For the IPA: Paul Skiermont from Skiermont Derby, Stephen Brauerman from Bayard PA

For Amazon: David Hadden of Fenwick & West, Steven Balick of Ashby & Geddes

Read more:

Judge cuts ‘Siri’ patent cases against Google, Amazon and Microsoft

Blake brittain

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]

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