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Patent case seeks to silence Nuance voice recognition

VoiceSignal Technologies names many in infringement suit over rival's Dragon NaturallySpeaking software.

VoiceSignal Technologies on Thursday announced that it has filed a patent infringement case against Nuance Communications over its popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania, alleges that Nuance violated VoiceSignal's patent, which covers the methodology for correcting errors in dictation software.

In July, Nuance released Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9, which was designed to enhance the accuracy of its PC-based speech recognition software by 20 percent over its version 8.

With version 9, Nuance aims to have the speech recognition software adjust for accuracy as the user speaks, rather than have them train the software program to become familiar with their speech patterns. The technology relies on the context that surrounds a word to differentiate between similar-sounding words.

VoiceSignal is asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction to halt Nuance, as well as its distributors, resellers and retailers from allegedly infringing on its patent. VoiceSignal is also seeking monetary damages.

VoiceSignal's lawsuit also names several retailers as defendants: Best Buy, Circuit City, CDW, CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, Office Depot and PC Connection. It has also named distributors Digital River, Ingram Micro, Tech Data and 1450.

Nuance declined to comment on the pending litigation.