I plan on working in the pattern recognition software industry. Some research into this industry led me to read about a company called “Nuance Communication.” According to this techcrunch article, “Nuance Communications is a massive company with a $6 billion market cap.”
http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/09/nuance-sues-vlingo-again-over-voice-recognition-patents/ More specifically, the article linked above describes Nuance Communication's suing of a Yahoo and AT&T backed statup company called Vlingo for IP infringement, a second time. A simple google search for “nuance communication sues ” returns a long list of IP lawsuits between Nuance Communication and smaller competitors in the pattern recognition market. So apparently, the incident above between Nuance and Vlingo isn't an isolated case.
Here are some articles about Nuance Communication's IP lawsuits that I came across in a google search:
In addition to taking many smaller companies to court, Nuance Communications has a history of acquiring their competitors. According to the wikipedia article on Nuance Communications, Nuance Communications got its name after merging with a company called ScanSoft. Prior to and after that merger, wikipedia lists no less than thirty-four competing companies that were acqiured by Nuance Communication.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuance_Communications#Acquisitions The following Business Week article suggests a link between Nuance's numerous lawsuits and acquisitions: "Nuance Plays Hardball in Voice Recognition "
I found two companies who were sued by Nuance Communications and who spoke out against Nuance Communication's business practices:
“This motion for contempt is withoutIn Summary: Having done some preliminary research, it seems to me that Nuance Communications locates competitors in the pattern recognition industry, offers to buy them out at an unreasonably low evaluation and sues for IP infringement if the offer is turned down. If correct, this is a horrifying conclusion. Here are my questions:
merit. Providing this notice is
clearly a tactic employed by Nuance in
light of its failed proposal to
acquire Zi last week at a low
valuation. The timing of this motion
is highly suspicious and is an
unnecessary legal tactic by Nuance. We
are disappointed that Nuance is
resorting to these kinds of tactics to
acquire Zi without recognizing its
full value. We will vigorously defend
ourselves in this litigation
proceeding. We are examining all legal
remedies available to us with respect
to Nuance’s tactics.”
Thank you for posting an incredible case for patent reform.
Am I understanding my research andYes.
these links correctly?
Are these business practices asYes, and Yes.
malicious and unethical as I think
they are, or is this normal in the
What can a startup company in thisLocate and launch your business in a location which does not recognize their patents.
industry (or any other) do to protect
against these kinds of "hardball"