IBM has bought the patents of rival voice recognition software developer AllVoice, following five years of ongoing legal wrangling.
Devon-based AllVoice originally filed a complaint of 'anti-competitive' behaviour against IBM five years ago (PC Dealer, 26 January 1998).
It sent a document of complaint to the European Commission, citing more than 30 instances of IBM allegedly trying to push it out of the voice recognition software market, contrary to Article 86 of the Treaty of Rome. The complaint was never resolved.
AllVoice had also alleged that another rival, Belgium-based Lernout & Hauspie (L&H), which was declared bankrupt in October last year, committed patent infringement in the development of its Dragon NaturallySpeaking software (CRN, 13 December 2000). AllVoice claimed that L&H's infringement of its patent cost it millions of pounds in lost turnover.
But last week IBM and AllVoice entered a licence agreement which saw Big Blue acquire the worldwide non-exclusive licence to all of AllVoice's voice recognition software patents for an undisclosed sum.
John Mitchell, managing director of AllVoice, said: "I'm delighted to have concluded this deal and to have obtained further recognition for AllVoice's contribution to this field."
IBM declined to comment.
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