St. Lawrence Communications has filed a major patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung involving five patents. All five inventions were originally filed under VoiceAge Corporation that have been recognized as a pioneer in speech and audio compression for the modern mobile phone by the ITU, ISO, ETSI, 3GPP2 and others. The products allegedly infringing upon these five patents are extensive. They include Samsung's HD Voice phones including the Galaxy Light; Galaxy Note; Galaxy Note II; Galaxy Note 3; Galaxy S 4G; Galaxy S II; Galaxy S III; Galaxy S4; and the Galaxy S5.
The Plaintiff's Summary
VoiceAge Corporation ("VoiceAge") has been a pioneer in speech and audio compression technologies since its creation in 1999. VoiceAge is widely recognized as the world's leader in developing cutting-edge technologies for wideband, low bit rate speech and audio compression.1 For example, VoiceAge provided the core technologies for at least nine international speech and audio standards-based codecs used in both wireless and wireline markets and applications. VoiceAge's patented technologies have won every international audio compression standard to which they have been submitted during the last thirteen years, including to the Third Generation Partnership Project ("3GPP"), 3GPP2, the International Telecommunications Union ("ITU"), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute ("ETSI"), and the Motion Picture Experts Group ("MPEG") of the International Organization for Standardization ("ISO").
One of the international standards based on the patented technologies of VoiceAge is the Adaptive Multi-Rate-Wideband ("AMR-WB") standard for wideband speech. AMR-WB is a wideband speech coding standard which, among other features, provides significantly improved speech quality at a wider speech bandwidth when compared to narrowband speech coding. AMR-WB is codified as an international standard, including as G.722.2, which was promulgated as a standard speech codec by the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector ("ITU-T") as the "Wideband coding of speech at around 16 Kbit/s using Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB)." G.722.2 AMR-WB is the same codec as the 3GPP AMR-WB speech codec, also known as 3GPP TS 26.190.
Several speech codecs competed to serve as the foundation for AMR-WB before the standard was officially adopted. VoiceAge's competitors included candidate codecs developed by such industry heavyweights as Ericsson, Motorola, Texas Instruments, and a consortium comprised of France Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, Nortel Networks, and Siemens.
The selection process was rigorous and extensive, involving numerous experiments covering all applications defined for AMR-WB. During the testing, the VoiceAge codec was the only codec to have no failures in any test condition. The VoiceAge codec was the superior codec with respect to speech quality, technical considerations, and test results, and was the codec chosen to be the official AMR-WB standard. VoiceAge had several patent families, each of which issued prior to the adoption of the standard, and which are essential to the AMR-WB standard.
Each patent was also independently evaluated by the International Patent Evaluation Consortium (IPEC) and determined to be essential to the standard. This evaluation by IPEC was conducted by an Evaluation Panel comprising a lead Evaluator and two Assistant Evaluators (all three are patent attorneys). The IPEC output documentation consisted of a detailed report of the patent essentiality determination including claim charts and an IPEC certificate of essentiality.
The AMR-WB standardized codec serves a variety of important, growing markets and applications including, but not limited to, high-definition voice services ("HD Voice") in wireless telephony, content for media audio, and mobile voice over internet protocol ("VoIP"). Indeed, in the mobile phone market, HD Voice is the commercial name for the AMR-WB codec.
HD Voice is a ground-breaking development in mobile phone technology, as it overcomes the limitations of the 300-3400 Hz voiceband traditionally used in mobile telephony; AMR-WB extends audio bandwidth to 50-7000 Hz, materially improving intelligibility over the narrow-band codec prevalent in mobile telephony.
There are numerous benefits to the users of HD Voice. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Sound quality is greatly improved;
• It is easier to recognize voices and comprehend accented speech;
• It is easier to distinguish confusing or similar sounds, such as between "'s and f";
• It is easier to hear faint voices and to understand speakers in environments in which multiple speakers are speaking at the same time;
• Listening is easier and more life-like, resulting in less "listener fatigue" and reducing miscommunications and misunderstandings;
• It is easier to understand speakers who use a speakerphone or who are in the presence of background noise; and
• It is easier to distinguish and differentiate between multiple voices on a single call.
In part, due to benefits like these, deployment of HD Voice is accelerating rapidly, both in the United States and globally. In the United States, T-Mobile has launched and supports HD Voice through the AMR-WB codec, with other carriers announcing plans to do the same later this year. As of March of 2014, at least 329 different mobile phones support HD Voice. Samsung actively manufactures, imports, markets and sells HD Voice phones, and at least 55 different Samsung mobile phones are HD Voice phones and therefore support the AMR-WB codec; without the AMR-WB codec developed by VoiceAge, Samsung would be unable to manufacture, import, market or sell a single HD Voice Phone.
Like other manufacturers and vendors who have chosen to implement HD Voice, Samsung has been given permission to use the HD Voice logo. The license agreement governing use of that HD Voice logo unambiguously requires the use of the AMR-WB codec. For example, the license agreement mandates that the "minimum requirements for mobile HD Voice devices" include "supporting the AMR-WB codec."
As HD Voice began to proliferate across the United States and internationally, VoiceAge partnered under an agreement with St. Lawrence to protect and license its patented inventions and intellectual property. On information and belief, prior to the filing of this Complaint, including through communications between Samsung and VoiceAge, Samsung had actual notice of the patents asserted here and of its infringement of these patents. Samsung is not licensed to the patents asserted in this Complaint, yet Samsung knowingly, actively, and lucratively practices and induces others to practice the patents.
Count 1: Infringement of Patent 6,795,805
Upon information and belief, Samsung has infringed directly continues to infringe directly Patent 6,795,805. The infringing acts include, but are not limited to, the manufacture, use, sale, importation, and/or offer for sale of products practicing the AMR-WB Standard ("Samsung HD Voice phones"). Samsung's infringing products include at least the HD Voice phones offered for sale in the United States by T-Mobile including, but not limited to: Galaxy Light; Galaxy Note; Galaxy Note II; Galaxy Note 3; Galaxy S 4G; Galaxy S II; Galaxy S III; Galaxy S4; and the Galaxy S5. These phones are among the larger range of Samsung HD Voice phones, each of which practices the '805 patent. On information and belief, the Samsung HD Voice mobile phones which practice the '805 patent at least as of March 21, 2014 (if not earlier).
As alleged above, Samsung had actual notice of the patents asserted here and of its infringement of these patents. In addition to its direct infringement, Samsung has been and is now indirectly infringing by way of inducing infringement and/or contributing to the infringement of the method claims of the '805 patent in the State of Texas, in this judicial district, and elsewhere within the United States by, among other things, making, using, licensing, selling, offering for sale, or importing infringing Samsung HD Voice mobile phones, covered by one or more method claims of the '805 patent, all to the injury of St. Lawrence. In the case of such infringement, the users of the Samsung HD Voice mobile phones are the direct infringers of the '805 patent. Samsung advertises and promotes its Samsung HD Voice phones on its website.
Samsung provides, makes, uses, licenses, sells, and offers its Samsung HD Voice phones for sale with the specific intent that its customers use those phones in an infringing manner.7 Samsung sells or offers to sell its HD Voice phones for use in practicing St. Lawrence's patented processes, and those HD voice phones are material to practicing St. Lawrence's invention. The HD voice features have no substantial non-infringing uses, and are known by Samsung to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of St. Lawrence's patents by complying with the AMR-WB standard. Samsung's acts of infringement have been willful, deliberate, and in reckless disregard of St. Lawrence's patent rights.
Upon information and belief, Defendants actually knew of, or were willfully blind to, the existence of the '805 Patent, yet Defendants continue to infringe said patent.
The other Patents Noted as being infringed
The other four counts of patent infringement brought against Samsung include patents 6,807,524, 7,151,802 and 7,260,521 and 7,191,123 that basically cover the same hardware as noted in the first count.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
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