9/30/2005

Yahoo Acused of Hijacking Voice Technology

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 5:21 am

A Silicon Valley technology company is suing Yahoo Inc. for allegedly stealing trade secrets by hiring away 13 key engineers who had nearly completed its interactive speech technology project.

Nuance Communications Inc. said it would ask a Santa Clara County judge Friday to block Yahoo from allowing the engineers to work on the technology it intended to market to Yahoo and other Internet companies.

The California case concerns voice recognition technology that Nuance says was at least 75 percent complete before its vice president of research and development, Larry Heck, took a job at Santa Clara-based Yahoo. About a dozen Nuance engineers on the project followed him to Yahoo this month, leading Nuance to conclude that Yahoo is attempting to swipe its technology.

“Yahoo and Heck now plan to replicate this technology for Yahoo, depriving Nuance of a valuable corporate opportunity, and positioning Yahoo as a competitor,” Jeffrey Chanin, Nuance’s attorney, said in court documents.

Yahoo, however, said it is not colluding with Heck or the other engineers to steal Nuance’s technology.

Source: AP

 

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