Jury: ABBYY, Lexmark Did Not Infringe on Nuance Patents

On August 23rd, a jury for the U.S. District Court of San Francisco jury ruled that neither Abbyy Software House nor Lexmark International infringed on three of Nuance Communications Inc.’s patents for optical character recognition (OCR) software, ending Nuance’s lawsuit seeking $107 million in damages. As a result of the jury’s decision, no damages have been awarded to Nuance.

Nuance had urged the jury to find ABBYY and Lexmark infringed the patents that had allowed Nuance to develop its OmniPage software, which the company argued represented “a quantum leap” in optical character recognition technology.

Three patents were in question in the case ( Nuance Communications v. ABBYY Software House, 08-0912), but the most important was said to be U.S. Patent No. 6,038,342, which covers a “trainable template” that is updated during the process of converting scanned images into searchable text.

Nuance had alleged that ABBYY gravely harmed its business by infringing on Nuance’s OCR technology, sold as the popular Nuance OmniPage software. Nuance, which filed the suit in February 2008, claimed that ABBYY’s FineReader OCR software is “little more than a copy” of OmniPage, and sought more than $100 million from ABBYY, as well as damages from Lexmark, which often bundles ABBYY’s FineReader with its MFPs.

ABBYY also issued a press release, with LeighAnn Weiland, Vice President and General Counsel at ABBYYUSA, stating, “ABBYY is pleased that the jury found in ABBYY’s favor, finding that ABBYY did not infringe any of Nuance’s asserted patent claims or its trade dress. ABBYY has remained confident in its non-infringement positions since the case was first filed in 2008. It is gratifying to see that confidence affirmed. We believe that this win further validates our leadership position in the OCR and data capture market.””

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