Apple gets sued all the time — at least twice last month over Siri’s voice commands.
In the latest lawsuit, a company is suing Apple over its patent for a “hands-free, voice-operated remote control transmitter” that is used to control appliances. In plain language, that would be Siri.
Apple fans are calling the plaintiff a “patent troll,” although that name is reserved for those who buy patents just to sue over them. As for SpeakWare, it’s a case of if it walks and talks like a duck it’s a troll.
The company is fairly new, and appears to be in the litigation business. It registered as a corporation in California a year ago, and it has already sued Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft.
Its patent was issued in 2002, so yeah, SpeakWare didn’t invent anything but the lawsuits. In the case against Apple, it claims infringement by iPhone 6, HomePod, and sixth generation iPad.
Those devices implement HomeKit programs that can talk to household appliances. So when you tell Siri to turn on the lights, it’s apparently a patent violation, too.
Siri has been in trouble before — and not for her sassy comebacks. Last month, a different patent troll sued Apple for violating a patent for “Speech Recognition and Transcript Among Users Having Heterogeneous Protocols.”
9to5Mac called Advanced Voice Recognition Systems another patent troll suing over Apple’s iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, HomePod operating systems.
“The patent itself is written in the usual dense language you expect with such applications, but doesn’t appear to have much bearing on Siri,” Ben Lovejoy wrote.
It’s more of the same, according to the critics. Patent trolls make broad claims, hoping a piece of the patent will stick.
When it comes to tech giants like Apple, that piece could turn out to be pretty big.