Judge excuses himself for Siri patent suit

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Judge excuses himself for Siri patent suit

Apple is facing a new patent infringement lawsuit in the US over Siri that was filed on behalf of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The lawsuit is off to a bumpy start as the judge assigned to the case recused himself over a conflict of interest, according to CNET.

When he stepped down, District Court Judge Gary Sharpe pointed to a law that says, "Any conduct that would lead a reasonable [person] knowing all the circumstances to the conclusion that the judge's 'impartiality might reasonably be questioned' is a basis for the judge's disqualification." Sharpe didn't identify his impartiality, but it could be something small like a stock holding or educational background that ties him to either Apple or RPI.

The lawsuit was filed last Friday by Dynamic Advances, LLC, a non-practicing entity that supposedly has a license to commercialize Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's patent portfolio. It can license RPI's patents and sue companies that are infringing. The patent cited in the case is U.S. Patent No. 7,177,798, which describes a "natural language interface using constrained intermediate dictionary of results" and was awarded in 2007.

Apple filed its own patent application for Siri in January 2011, but that patent is still pending. Currently, Apple is the only company being accused of infringement by Dynamic Advances.

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