Business Standard

Indian Patent Office rejects Google's invention of voice-to-text technology

The internet giant offers voice-to-text message in Google Voice to transcribe voicemail into text

Gireesh Babu  |  Chennai 


The Indian Patent Office has refused to grant a patent to for its invention of providing text messages using voice command. The internet giant offers voice-to-text message in Voice which can transcribe voicemail into text, among others.

The application was filed in 2006 by Motorola Mobility LLC, now changed to Technology Holdings LLC for method and apparatus of providing text messages.

The patent office describes the method particularly useful for providing text messages using voice inputs processed on a portable electronic device with limited memory and computational capacity.

According to one aspect of the invention, there is a method of providing a text message. This includes the steps of receiving voice at an input of an electronic device. 

Speech recognition is then performed on the words uttered and is guided by a user-defined message template stored in a memory associated with the electronic device. 

However, speech recognition is defined by matching the words uttered with one of the templates to create a matching template. A text message is then provided from the matching template.

Generally typing characters using the keypad of a mobile phone would be a task, however, speaking to the device to convert it into text using speech recognition system would need more processing power and memory than available in most devices. 

The open vocabulary speech recognition systems and methods require relatively high computational overheads and are not acceptable for portable electronic devices such as personal digital assistants, radiotelephones and other portable devices, the Indian Patent Office said.

The company responded to the objections in the first examination report. The patent office fixed up a hearing on June 8, 2017, to hear the company on its objections. This includes claims that the company do not have inventive hardware features and only have conventional hardware features where the invention lies only in the method.

The company's agent said that it is no longer interested in pursuing the application and requested the authority to decide the matter based on the document on record and on the merit of the subject matter.

Indian Patent Office observed that the invention is not patentable under the Section 2(1)(j) of The Patents Act, 1970, which states that an invention requires an inventive step and capable of industrial application, and Section 3(K), which states that a mathematical or business method or a computer programme or algorithms are not patentable.

First Published: Tue, June 13 2017. 11:09 IST