According to a recent court ruling, Amazon did not infringe on patents from an Israeli company, Ikani Holdings’ Freshub, over smart kitchen voice controls, Bloomberg writes, citing a decision by a Waco, Texas judge.
Freshub’s product was allowing customers to make shopping lists, set up shopping carts and order from local stores with voice commands.
Amazon’s product allowed voice commands to be used to shop with the Alexa digital assistant.
The Bloomberg report says Amazon knew of Freshub’s work as it put that tech into the Alexa and promoted it at the Whole Foods grocery stores the eCommerce giant owns, according to Freshub. The Israeli company said that because the customers using the tech spent more money, the company was entitled to a $3.50 per unit sold. That came out to a total of $246 million.
Amazon fired back saying Freshub had been manipulating patent applications to make sure they were covering Alexa and Echo, and also added that a win for Freshub would mean more lawsuits coming against fellow big tech giants like Apple and Google.
And it said the patents were worth at most $1 million.
In addition, Freshub had been talking with Whole Foods around 2014, while Amazon had been talking with the company since 2015. That included a 2019 incident where an Amazon general manager met with the company regarding Alexa Shopping.
Amazon has denied patent infringement, and according to Bloomberg, Freshub hadn’t been able to get anyone else to license its ideas or go along with a patent.
In 2020, PYMNTS wrote about the use of voice command apps for new broadened things, with the endpoint coming down to how artificial intelligence (AI) is used. Peter Peng, CEO of voice commerce platform Jetson, said the future would likely see more small businesses using AI, with the way those companies do business being faster than the sluggish pace of larger corporations.