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Comment Some one has to do it (Score 5, Informative) 56

Patent Trial Ends in Total Loss for MoFo Client

By Julia Love Contact All Articles
The Recorder

August 26, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — After a two-week trial, Nuance Communications Inc. came up empty Monday when a jury found that a Russian competitor had not infringed any of its patents or trade dress.

Nuance had accused ABBYY Software House of infringing three of its patents and mirroring its packaging. Both companies market software that uses optical character recognition technology, or OCR, to convert scanned images of text so they can be searched and edited digitally.

Represented by a team of lawyers from Morrison & Foerster and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Nuance argued that ABBYY's FineReader was little more than a copy of its signature product OmniPage. The Burlington, Mass.-based company also sued Lexmark International Inc. for its use of ABBYY's products and sought more than $100 million in total damages from the two companies.

Nuance did not prevail on any claims in Nuance Communications v. ABBYY Software House, 08-0912. MoFo partner Michael Jacobs, who is co-lead counsel for Nuance with fellow MoFo partner James Bennett, declined to comment.

From his opening statement to his closing, ABBYY's lead lawyer, Gerald Ivey of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, urged the jury to honor the American spirit of competition.

"That's what [this verdict] does," he said in an interview Monday. "It allows ABBYY to continue to compete fairly and on equal footing with all the other companies that are interested in the OCR technology that ABBYY is a real leader in developing."

The trial before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White revolved around Nuance's U.S. Patent No. 6,038,342, which covers a "trainable template" that is updated during the process of converting scanned images into searchable text. The technology was roundly applauded when OmniPage debuted in 1988, Bennett said during his closing argument.

"It's not often in a patent case where you have the kind of widespread, third-party corroboration of the breakthrough, revolutionary... nature of an invention," Bennett told the jury. "And that's what we have here."

Bennett took ABBYY to task not only for infringing Nuance's patents but also for eroding the prices his client could charge for its products with deep discounting.

"OmniPage and Nuance, from the time that ABBYY entered this market, have been targeted," he said.

But Ivey insisted that the technology underlying ABBYY's products bears little resemblance to its competitor's. In contrast with Nuance's trainable template, ABBYY's program relies on a system of weighted guesses to determine word variance in context, he explained in an interview Monday.

"That is a very different philosophical and technological approach," he said.

Nuance also cried foul over ABBYY's packaging, which for a time made use of similar colors and images. During his closing argument, Ivey questioned the distinctiveness of Nuance's package design. He noted that there had been no documented cases of consumers mistaking the two companies' products. . And he took issue with the suggestion that his client was trying to masquerade as another company.

"ABBYY has proudly displayed its name on its packages since it entered the U.S.," he said in an interview.

During his closing argument, Ivey recounted ABBYY's beginnings as a startup, a story reminiscent of many Silicon Valley companies, though it unfolded in Moscow. The company's founder and CEO both testified in English, though it is their second language.

"Jurors had an opportunity to hear from them directly," he said. "I think that mattered."

Comment USA perspective = bizarre (Score 1) 1719

She had 2 handguns, completely reasonable for self defense. A standard .223 carbine... standard rifle you can get at walmart, fun to shoot and then a shotgun, pretty typical for hunting small game.

You do realise that to most people in most parts of the civilized/first world, this sounds completely insane, right?

Two handguns for self defence? Insane. Guess what I have for self-defence in the first world country where I live? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a bat or knife. Times I have been violently murdered or robbed so far: 0.

A "standard" .223 carbine... that you can buy at a neighbourhood variety store. Insane.

A shotgun, "pretty typical for hunting small game". Insane.

Even more insane, though, is this idea that your hobby/paranoia (which are the two reasons you implicitly think people should have guns) outweighs other people's safety.

Where I live, you actually don't see guns, other than small handguns, in holsters, carried by the police. That's it.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Guns just make people way more effective at killing each other. That's what they are for. Take up archery, buy a can of mace, and stop being so completely ridiculous about your weapon-infested society.

Comment Cue stupid comments from non-Australians (Score 4, Informative) 452

Before there is too much stupidity, if you've never been to Australia, please realise:

1. It's huge. Really huge. I live in one out of two of the closer-together cities in Australia, and they're about 800kms apart. In the other direction, the next major city is 2,500kms away.

2. It's mostly empty (in terms of civilization). Think of driving through rural Utah or Arizona, which are quite similar to the Australian bush.

3. It's mostly flat and full of similar looking landscape.

4. National parks and non-national park areas often look quite similar.

5. There's usually only one or two ways to get around in the country.

6. Mildura is a small town in the middle of bloody nowhere. If I was driving there from here I'd expect to pass through a handful of tiny settlements on the way.

So if you are relying on your GPS to get you somewhere outside a major city, it's actually quite plausible and reasonable that you might not have much idea that you're being led off in the wrong direction until you (don't) get there.

It's also quite plausible that you can die - it has happened before. People get lost, they run out of fuel, they don't have water, the temperature easily gets up into the 40-50C range and - dead.

Comment Don't ever plan on getting old then. (Score 2) 206

I use very much the same system in my room. Worked fine when I was young, had a brilliant memory and knew where everything was. Now I'm at the "get off my lawn" age, I forget where I put things within two minites of putting them down, Spend half my life looking for things.

Would get myself organised, but at my age the payback time is probably not worth the time spent doing it.

Comment I'd make a joke... (Score 1) 124

But the last thing the world needs is more toilet humor.

It's a fascinating science idea, but there's no way I can see it marketed to take off. Starting with the fact that people have reasonable levels of phobias of living things where they poo; see prevalent folk tales of squirrels and snakes in toilets, etc.

It's just simply more economical to dig a hole in the ground, and provide hand sanitizer.

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