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Comcast Gets Win in Voice Control Patent Battle

As it seeks to redefine itself as a technology company that owns the designs of its gadgetry, Comcast continues to fight for its technological independence in court.

Comcast's Xfinity Voice Remote 

Comcast's Xfinity Voice Remote 

And it's not just battling TiVo. Comcast, it seems, has a lot of patent litigation going on, much of which we know little about. 

For example, the cable operator just won a victory against Menlo Park, California-based Promptu Systems Corp., which sued Comcast back in 2017 over voice control technologies.

The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board invalidated Promptu’s patent No. RE44,326, defined as "System and method of voice recognition near a wireline node of a network supporting cable television and/or video delivery.”

The case involving three patents was filed in March 2017 and is now being litigated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In March of this year, the patent board ruled against Comcast in its bid to get another patent in the case invalidated, the so-called ‘538 patent, titled, “Method and apparatus for voice control of a television control device.”

Comcast has also petitioned the patent board to review yet another patent in the dispute, No. ’196, also defined as “System and Method of Voice Recognition Near a Wireline Node of a Network Supporting Cable Television and/or Video Delivery.”

Comcast representatives didn’t immediately respond to inquiries for comment.

Promptu said it began startup life as AgileTV in 2000, a self-described “innovator in voice recognition and natural language understanding technology.

“Beginning in or about 2001, Comcast expressed an interest in Promptu’s capability of implementing a voice recognition feature into Comcast’s television cable network system,” Promptu said in its complaint. “Comcast then had no ability to adopt and implement voice recognition technology into its cable network without Promptu’s expertise.”