As we all know, there are many patents in the areas of voice recognition, optical character recognition, face recognition, etc. Many of these same services are on the Mashape website provided as free/paid API services. I can't imagine all of these services are licensing the respective patents.

Do they think it is unlikely they'll be sued by patent owners? Or would it be too difficult to prove they are infringing on patents?

EDIT: I should point out that this scenario obviously isn't only going on with the API services of Mashape. It just works well as an example.

  • Pretty much anyone can be sued at any time right now due to the vast number of vague patents. Even the askpatents.com website can be sued for multiple levels of infringement on several patents. It's unavoidable which is why this is becoming so dangerous. If a patent holder wants to allege infringement it becomes a multimillion dollar nightmare for the defendant. This is beyond the scope of this website though, and the purpose here is to help find prior art on patents that are about to issue. Aug 6, 2014 at 5:16

2 Answers 2


The most likely is that they are unaware of infringing on any patents, or do not believe that any of the patents applies to their situation.

You cannot just patent "voice recognition" -- you have to patent a non-obvious and novel way of doing so, and since there can be many novel ways they may have implemented something which is not covered by any patent, or outright hold their own patent on their novel and innovative way of doing the task, or maybe implement a method which is in the public domain.

In general anything which is prior-art / public domain cannot be patented -- so for example simply using a Fourier Transformation for voice spectrum analysis cannot be patented as it is public domain and prior-art.

Hence patents for such technology will cover very specific algorithms and methods which is not applicable to all implementations.


As we all know, there are many patents in the areas of voice recognition, optical character recognition, face recognition, etc.

In the areas. Those patents tend to be very complex, and refer to very specific things within those field.

Some of those services you linked to might be infringing, but voice recognition in general is not patented, nor is optical character recognition or face recognition. In some of those cases, somebody somewhere might have a patent that might cover some obscure portion of what some of those programs do, and patent holders often have people scouring the internet looking for such instances of infringement. Sometimes they find people, send cease and desist letters, and work out a license. Sometimes they don't work out a license, and they sue. Sometimes, they never find those people. And often times, they don't bother, because finding somebody and deciding, earnestly, that that person might be infringing your patent is not the easiest thing to do.

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