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Allvoice Developments US v. Microsoft Corp.

Representative Claim

Claim 60

A universal speech-recognition interface that enables operative coupling of a speech-recognition engine to at least any one of a plurality of different computer-related applications, the universal speech-recognition interface comprising:

input means for receiving speech-recognition data including recognised [sic] words; output means for outputting the recognised words into at least any one of the plurality of different computer-related applications to allow processing of the recognised words as input text; and audio playback means for playing audio data associated with the recognised words.

Claim 64

A speech-recognition interface that enables operative coupling of a speech-recognition engine to a computer-related application, the interface comprising:

input means for receiving speech-recognition data including recognised [sic] words; output means for outputting the recognised words into a computer-related application to allow processing of the recognised words as input text, including changing positions of the recognised words; and means, independent of the computer-related application, for determining positions of the recognised words in the computer-related application.

Posture:

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in No. 2:10–cv–02102–RAJ, Judge Close.

Abstract Idea: Undecided

The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s determination that claims 60-68 were directed to an “interface” and did “not recite a process or tangible or physical object and, thus, [did] not fall within any of the categories of eligible subject matter.”  The patent owner argued that the claimed interfaces described in the ′273 Patent’s specification were “interface applications,” and, thus, these claims were limited to software instructions.  The Federal Circuit stated that “software may be patent eligible, but when a claim is not directed towards a process, the subject matter must exist in tangible form. Here, the disputed claims merely claim software instructions without any hardware limitations.”

The Federal Circuit declined to accept the patent owner’s further argument that “the claimed software must necessarily be in a machine readable, physical state in order to exist, and that the district court therefore should have concluded that these claims are directed to a manufacture, one of the four categories of patentable inventions.”  The Federal Circuit reiterated that “instructions, data, or information alone, absent a tangible medium, is not a manufacture.”  The Court declined to “imply a tangible medium into claims that fail to recite or reference any such medium. Because claims 60–68 are not directed to a tangible article and are not process claims, the district court did not err when it held these claims were not patent eligible, and, thus, invalid.”

The Mayo/Alice two-step framework was not addressed because the claims at issue were not directed to one of the statutory categories of eligible subject matter.

Something More: N/A

Undecided.