SynKloud Technologies, LLC v. Nuance Communications, Inc. (20-cv-10564).

  • March 23, 2020

In March 2020, SynKloud filed suit accusing Nuance’s Dragon products of infringing U.S. Patent No. RE 44,248, directed towards enhanced voice recognition technologies for moving speaker voice models between computers to enhance voice-to-text dictation.  This enables multiple dictation machines to share voice recognition for a particular individual’s voice without each machine having to be trained to the particular voice.  A Markman hearing was held in February 2021, and a claim construction ruling issued in May of that year.  Nuance subsequently moved for summary judgment of noninfringement and invalidity, the latter based on allegations that the claim term “enrollment entries” was indefinite. 

The Court criticized SynKloud for seeking to conflate “enrollment entries” with another claim term, “voice model,” that had already been rejected in the Court’s Markman ruling, and found that under the proper construction, the accused products do not infringe two of the asserted claims.  The court noted, however, that a third claim that does not include the limitation (and instead uses a broader term, “data”), Nuance’s argument does not extend to that claim, and denied summary judgment of noninfringement on that claim.

The Court further agreed with Nuance that the term “enrollment entries” is indefinite, invalidating one of the asserted claims.  SynKloud had asserted an additional claim that described a processor adapted to “record the user’s voice model files and enrollment entries, stored on the source computer, [and] store the user’s enrollment entries in recoverable form as the user’s voice model files and enrollment entries.”  When SynKloud’s technical expert could not explain how enrollment entries could be stored as voice model files and enrollment entries, SynKloud dropped the claim from the suit.  The Court determined that this rendered the term indefinite, and thus the claim invalid.  The other two claims were not so deemed – one referenced both enrollment entries and voice model files, but does not require storing one as the other, and the third claim did not reference enrollment entries at all.

SynKloud itself moved for summary judgment of no inequitable conduct and for Rule 11 sanctions.  Judge Saris indicated that a decision on SynKloud’s motion would be addressed by a separate opinion.

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