A judge presiding over a patent lawsuit involving Apple has stepped down because he has an 'interest' in the tech firm.
New York District Court Judge Gary Sharpe has recused himself, claiming an "interest" in Apple prevents him from being qualified to judge the case. It is uncertain what that interest is but it may involve stocks or shares.
The lawsuit was filed by Texas-based Dynamic Advances which claims Apple's virtual assistant Siri infringes its licensed voice recognition patent called '798. Dynamic Advances did not actually invent the patent but exclusively licensed it from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
According to the legal blog Justia (opens in new tab), Dynamic Advances was created last year by known 'patent troll' Erich Spangenberg, who is infamous for a "sue first, ask questions later" approach to patent infringement.
(opens in new tab)"Apple has infringed and continues to infringe one or more claims of the '798 Patent by processing natural-language inputs in the United States. For example, Apple's Siri personal assistant includes technology claimed in the '798 Patent," read a Dynamic Advances complaint letter submitted to the court.
Since its launch, Apple has faced a plethora of lawsuits relating to Siri. In July, Chinese firm Zhizhen Network sued Apple (opens in new tab) for infringing on a patent that covers "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," dubbed Xiaoi Bot.
District Judge David Hurd is due to replace Sharpe as the presiding judge on the Dynamic Advances lawsuit.