Alexa, play Despacito.
This is just one of the many commands that Amazon’s Alexa app and Echo devices are capable of. The speech processing and command device has various features such as communicating with other electronic devices. But to communicate with Alexa, you usually have to say a “wake word.” But Amazon recently filed a patent application, which is patent application no. 20190156818 (‘818 application) titled “pre-wake word speech processing.” The new application may allow Alexa to recognize commands before using a wake word.
Let’s take a look at the application.
The ‘818 application
The abstract of the patent application abstract states the invention is for a “system for capturing and processing portions of a spoken utterance command that may occur before a wakeword. The system buffers incoming audio and indicates locations in the audio where the utterance changes, for example when a long pause is detected. When the system detects a wakeword within a particular utterance, the system determines the most recent utterance change location prior to the wakeword and sends the audio from that location to the end of the command utterance to a server for further speech processing.”
What are the claims
The first claim of the ‘818 application reads “[a] computer-implemented method for processing a spoken command when the wakeword does not begin the command, the method comprising: receiving audio comprising speech; buffering audio data representing the speech; determining that the audio data includes a number of consecutive audio frames with an energy level below a threshold; determining that a new utterance has occurred in the speech using a tone quality of the speech and the number of consecutive audio frames; determining a first location in the speech corresponding to the new utterance; storing the first location; detecting a wakeword in the speech, wherein the wakeword corresponds to a second location in the speech, the second location being after the first location; sending a portion of audio data to a remote server for speech processing, where a beginning of the portion of audio data corresponds to speech at the first location; determining an end of the new utterance at a third location in the speech, the third location being after the second location; concluding the sending of the portion of audio data to the remote server so that an end of the portion of audio data corresponds to speech at the third location; receiving command data from the remote server; and executing the command data.”
Click here to read the entire ‘818 application.
Amazon’s other intellectual property
We all know how great and efficient Amazon is. But what helps deter Amazon’s competitors from appropriating all their cool tech? Well for one, Amazon has intellectual property protection for many of its assets. Intellectual property protection gives Amazon protection for its inventions, logos, designs, and original works of authorship. Let’s check out some of the trademarks that Amazon has under its belt.
To get a flavor of what trademarks Amazon owns, we only included a select few. These include:
- EARTH’S BIGGEST BOOKSTORE
- NEW FOR YOU
These are only some of the trademarks that Amazon owns.
What is a trademark
A trademark can be defined as a “recognizable name, marking or term that a company can by law use to identify itself and its products.” Trademark law gives a party the right to use that mark in commerce. Moreover, there can be both federal and state protection for a trademark. There is trademark infringement when any unauthorized party that uses the trademark in a way that may result in a likelihood of confusion.
What are your thoughts on Amazon’s patent application for speech processing? How about their trademarks?
Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be legal advice and is meant to be for educational or entertainment purposes only. Please do not use the article or contents of the article without permission. For legal advice and questions, please contact registered Patent Attorney Vincent LoTempio.