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Google buys speech rec patents from SR Tech

From unknown to Choc Factory provider

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A company established last year to negotiate royalties from patents filed by previously low-profile individuals from Cincinnati has vaulted into public eye courtesy of Google, which has bought rights to two of its patents.

SR Tech Group LLC, which principal Stuart Goller told The Register was set up last year (we were unable to find its incorporation information on Ohio's business search) has sold two patents to the Chocolate Factory: this one, US 7,742,922, was published in 2010, while US 8,056,070 dates from 2011.

The assignment transaction is recorded at the US Patent Office here.

The first of these patents “provides search results from a speech initiated search query”, turning speech into a data string and using that data as the basis for search. The second allows “to add, modify, and delete speech recognition program information that may include: speech commands, dll's, multimedia files, executable code, and other information.”

SR Tech Group's media announcement says it is “working with” another company, Voice Tech Group Inc, on commercialising “speech recognition, gesture and game play computing technologies for the PC.” The two are working very closely indeed: the two principals of SR Tech Group, Stuart Goller and Michael Goller (the inventors of the patents sold to Google) are identified as the incorporators of Voice Tech Group in the Ohio business database. Voice Tech's product is the Tazti speech recognition system, which the company claims has had 250,000 downloads.

SR Tech Group's claims in both patents have the breadth that is common to software patents. The speech query patent appears to lay claim to converting an utterance to data, combing that data for the search term and the search engine the user wants, fielding out the spoken words with delimiters (so, for example, “Search Google for pizza” doesn't become searchgoogleforpizza), turning the whole lot into a URI, opening the URI and providing the results of the search.

Google hasn't commented on its decision to acquire the patents, so it's hard to say if its move is an attempt to improve its speech-driven services or a way of wrapping up potential litigation. ®

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