Apple has agreed to pay $24.9M to settle a long-running lawsuit alleging that Siri violated a patent owned by a New York institute and exclusively licensed to a company in Dallas. The patent predates the launch of Siri by four years.
The Albany Business Review notes that Apple was sued not by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which holds the patent, but by Dallas-based Dynamic Advances, which licensed it. The company reportedly receives $5M now, and the balance after meeting unspecified conditions. In return, Apple gets a license to use the patented technology for three years.
The settlement means that the patent trial, due to take place in New York next month, will no longer proceed. However, that may not be the end of it …
Under the terms of the deal, Dynamic Advances would hand over 50% of the money to Rensselaer – but Rensselaer has reportedly not agreed to the terms, with one document stating that the issue ‘may have to be resolved in arbitration.’
It’s interesting that Apple has chosen to settle the case given that Siri’s speech-recognition engine was developed by Nuance Communications, the company behind Dragon Dictate, and not by Apple itself. The patent seems rather general, but it’s possible that it relates to the AI behind answering the queries, hence the decision to sue Apple.