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January 26, 1998

ALLVOICE ACCUSES IBM OF STEALING CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

By CBR Staff Writer

AllVoice Computing Plc, the small Newton Abbot, UK-based voice recognition company that claimed last year to hold patents that IBM Corp and Dragon Systems Inc were possibly infringing (CI No 3,257), has now officially accused IBM of trying to squeeze it out of the voice recognition space. The company has issued a complaint via the European Commission that claims IBM entered into an agreement with AllVoice and subsequently went back on its word, using confidential information relating to AllVoice’s technology to knock it out of the picture. It also claims IBM published the wrong date for an AllVoice seminar, planned an IBM seminar to clash with an AllVoice seminar, refused to give technical support to AllVoice for IBM hardware, and tried to prevent an Australian dealer and an American dealer communicating with or doing business with AllVoice. Reports suggest if AllVoice’s allegations are substantiated and IBM is found to be in the wrong, the computer giant could be fined up to the value of 10% of revenue, which could even mean total revenue rather than just speech recognition sales, if the case is pursued far enough. AllVoice managing director John Mitchell is understandably not saying too much about the complaint filed against IBM, but said he wants to make it clear that AllVoice is not in litigation with IBM, or vice versa. The 14-person operation is awaiting a reply from IBM, which has been issued with the complaint by the European Commission. What happens next largely depends on IBM’s response. An IBM spokesperson declined to comment on the complaint. AllVoice was established in 1980 and develops voice recognition systems for desktop and portable Personal Computers, either stand alone or networked. Its flagship product is WordExpress.

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