Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) are two companies that have become very familiar adversaries in courtrooms all around the world – both facing off with each other in proxy wars (Apple has faced HTC, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Motorola Mobility in recent months, all of which are Google Android partners) and also against other entities in separate patent-infringement battles. But now, a recent court filing may just put both of these rival companies on the same side of the courtroom – or at least, on the same side of the negotiating table.
A company called Accredited Transcription Corporation (ATC), which owns 100 percent of a patent for an off-site voice transcription process – it had owned 66 percent of the patent before Wednesday – is suing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech companies that use voice-recognition systems, for patent infringement and is seeking either royalties on sales of devices that use the patent, licensing fees for the technology, or injunctions preventing any further user of the technology.
The patent, numbered 6,298,326 in the U.S., is technology that allows a user to speak into a device, and the voice recording is sent to an off-site data processor, the sounds are converted into text and sent back to the device. ATC claims that the Siri voice-recognition system by Apple (NASDAQ:GOOG) and the Voice Recognition technology used by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) in its Android 4.1 operating system violate that patent, and it will send cease-and-desist letters to those and other companies who use similar technologies by the end of October.
“ATC recognizes that its patent provides a technology that benefits the public, so it remains amenable to work with companies such as Google and Apple as long as it receives proper royalties on each of their units sold that use the patented technology,” the company said in a statement.
Another patent lawsuit is not likely something that investors in either Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock – like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, who has stakes in both companies – would be so enamored with, as surely both companies have plenty of innovation and creation in their futures. But what do you think about this lawsuit? Is it legitimate? How would you resolve the issue if you were Tim Cook or Larry Page?