Archive for the ‘GW Micro’ Category

Lawsuit Leads to Reconsideration of Patent

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has re-examined a patent held by the maker of a screen reader for blind computer users in connection with an infringement lawsuit filed against a competing company. Reliable sources hailed the move as a significant victory for the defendant.

The Document Placemarker patent, held by Freedom Scientific, Inc., covers a specialized screen reading capability that allows a blind person to save their position on a Web page and return to the same place at a later time. The company’s Job Access With Speech (JAWS) screen reading software incorporates this feature.

In a July 15, 2008 complaint filed in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, the self-proclaimed “world’s leading manufacturer of assistive technology products for those who are vision impaired” accused GW Micro, the maker of the competing Window-Eyes screen reader, of deliberate patent infringement, claiming their placemarker technology is the same as that described in the patent. According to court documents, Freedom Scientific is seeking an injunction requiring GW Micro to stop including the placemarker feature in their product, asks for significant unspecified financial compensation for the infringement and requests recovery of legal fees.

“I believe that this technology shouldn’t have been patented to begin with,” said Doug Geoffray, Vice President of Development with GW Micro, Inc. “It obviously was around way before what they’ve done. We have stated that our version, Window-Eyes 3.1 back in 1999, had previous position capability.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agreed. In a re-examination of Freedom Scientific’s patent, at the request of GW Micro’s attorneys, the office rejected all claims to the invention.

“A person shall be entitled to a patent unless the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of application for patent in the United States,” stated a published document describing the re-examination as the basis for the patent’s rejection on the grounds that the technology had already been invented.

The document also cited two existing patents and the availability of IBM’s Home Page Reader, a product employing place marker technology prior to the Freedom Scientific patent, in its reasoning behind the decision.

“We take that as a positive sign,” Geoffray said.

“It’s a victory,” said Dennis Karjala, Jack E. Brown Professor of Law, Faculty Fellow, Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “There’s no question that, if the re-examination decision is upheld, that’s the end of it. There is no patent.”

He said Freedom Scientific may still have some cards to play in this case.

“The patent owner in a re-examination proceeding may appeal,” Karjala said. “It goes to an appeals board within the Patent Office and then they can later seek judicial review. This thing could go on for awhile.”

According to the re-examination document, the Patent Office must receive a response from Freedom Scientific by Oct. 28 if it wishes to appeal the decision.

Karjala said the legal trend points to a probable GW Micro victory.

“Because the Supreme Court has been reviewing so many of their cases with an obvious eye to overturning them, the Patent Office is pretty sensitive now that they’re being accused of being too patent friendly,” said Karjala. “My guess is once you got a ruling by the examiner that the patent is invalid, I’d say the chances are pretty good it will be upheld by the board in the Patent Office. If it’s upheld by the board, the chances that a court would overturn it in this atmosphere are pretty slim.”

Freedom Scientific representatives declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Notes:

  • The examiner cited Patent 6085161 describing the invention of a system for assigning and playing specific sounds when a Web page changes or the user encounters a specific Web page element such as a header or list. All of the claims in Freedom Scientific’s patent were rejected based on the positioning techniques described in this “sonification” system.
  • The examiner also cited Patent 7058887 describing a means of determining the position on a Web page according to user-defined settings, including the page’s domain. This IBM patent was referenced in the re-examination as clarification for the rejection of the sixth claim.
  • The examiner also referred to the IBM Home Page Reader Version 2.5 Manual.
  • Ex Parte Re-examination, Control Number 90/010,473, Central Re-examination Unit, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Visit the Patent Application Information Retrieval Web site and enter the specified control number to obtain this document. The Patent Office provides this document only in scanned image PDF, which is inaccessible to blind readers. An accessible copy of this document has been made available using Kurzweil K1000 Version 11.03 optical character recognition software.
  • An accessible copy of Freedom Scientific’s complaint was made available in the July 24, 2008 article about the lawsuit.

First Impressions: A New BookSense Owner Compares the New Audio Player and Book Reader to HumanWare’s VictorReader Stream

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

This article compares the new BookSense product sold by GW Micro and manufactured by Hims Co, LTD.” with the well-established VictorReader Stream manufactured and sold by HumanWare. Both products are ultra-portable devices that enable the blind to read audio books, access books in several electronic text formats and listen to music. I have presented this information in a way that expresses what I believe, in my personal and professional opinion, to be the pros and cons of the new BookSense as compared with the VictorReader Stream from the perspective of an advanced blind technology user who has owned the Stream for almost two years and has just started using the BookSense two days ago.

BookSense Pros

The BookSense sports a plethora of new features and enhancements over the VictorReader Stream which are the basis for the vast majority of its strengths.

BookSense has a text-to-speech synthesizer that seems far superior than that in the VR Stream. It uses the Kate and Paul voices at, I believe, 22 KHz. The vastly improved TTS engine is the primary reason I decided to purchase the BookSense despite my already owning a Stream. I read lots of electronic books during the fall and spring semesters in journalism school, and I was finding the TTS on the Stream slightly hard to handle for that purpose at times. In contrast, I have been reading a book I downloaded from Bookshare yesterday morning and have been enjoying it on the BookSense reading with the Kate voice. Kate and Paul are terrible when used as speech synthesizers for computers, in my opinion, but they’re quite appropriate for use on a book reading device like the BookSense. I heard these voices during the BookSense presentation, and I was sold after doing a bit more research.

BookSense is significantly smaller in size and lighter in weight as compared to the Stream. It is supplied with a lanyard that enables wearing the unit around the neck. The BookSense appears to be well-constructed with tough plastic and flatter buttons that seem to be less susceptible to wear and tear as compared to some of the controls found on the Stream.

BookSense enables charging of its battery through the USB connection while the Stream does not. This offers an obvious practical enhancement over the Stream, where only its proprietary charger may be used. Although charging through the USB connection requires a little more than twice the time (5 versus 2 hours) to complete, the increased flexibility more than makes up for that minor disadvantage.

BookSense supports many formats not available on the Stream, including Audible Enhanced (high quality stereo books from Audible.com), iTunes, MP4 and others. Support for WMA protected files, such as the Overdrive books you can acquire through public libraries, is promised in a future firmware upgrade.

BookSense has a clock! That’s right. The device can act as a talking clock and you can hear the time even when it is otherwise powered off. Hardware limitations mean that the Stream will never provide this unless a revision is made requiring owners to purchase new units or spend a significant amount of additional funds on an upgrade. Lack of a clock on the Stream means that formats like protected WMA will never be supported because they require adherence to expiration dates and similar licensing rules. Besides, I find it annoying that something as simple as a clock was left out of the design of the Stream.

BookSense incorporates a pair of internal stereo speakers that’s actually loud enough to be useful!

BookSense records in honest-to-goodness stereo MP3 or wave formats at sampling rates high enough to be useful for podcasting, sound seeing tours and other situations outside the traditional classroom scenario imagined by the designers of the Stream.

BookSense XT sports an FM radio that allows blind users to finally enjoy some of the basics the sighted have always had, including verbal frequency read-out and station presets. I know this is rather silly, but I’ve always wanted a radio that would tell me the frequency and allow me to store presets in a way that’s fully accessible. Of course, some ham radio gear has contained this level of accessibility for years, but it’s nice to finally see it on a broadcast receiver.

BookSense XT has 4 GB of internal Flash storage, where the Stream has none at all. The BookSense is supplied with a 2 GB SD card and the BookSense XT is supplied with an 8 GB SD card. You’re completely on your own to purchase an SD card for the Stream, which requires one to operate since it sports no internal storage.

The BookSense XT features Bluetooth for connection to a wireless headset. While this feature currently appears to be unreliable, I am confident the issues will be resolved in short order and the use of a wireless headset will be an enjoyable experience for BookSense XT owners.

Finally, but certainly no less important, the BookSense is sold in the United States by GW Micro, developers of the popular Window-Eyes screen reader and a company known for its high touch and attention to customer service and support.

BookSense Cons

Despite the arrival of this new book reader and player on the market, there is no combination of hardware and firmware that is 100 percent perfect. This couldn’t be more true in the case of the BookSense. It is quite likely, however, that many if not all the disadvantages of the BookSense will be addressed in the near future by GW Micro and Hims, its South Korean manufacturer.

HumanWare has done an excellent job with the controls on the VR Stream, making it, perhaps, one of the easiest blindness technology products to use in the field as of this writing in mid-2009. All controls on the Stream feature good spacing and tactile features making them easy to identify and locate from a blind perspective. Although it is obvious that efforts were made to ensure a similarly easy experience with BookSense, its flatter, smoother controls may put off some users who might find them difficult to manage due to other conditions such as nerve damage in the fingers from diabetes.

On a similar note, HumanWare does a good job of packaging the Stream. The accompanying CD-ROM containing companion software, documentation and the tutorial is supplied in a case that is labeled in Braille for easy identification. The power supply has a rather unique rectangular shape and features several smoothed edges that make it easy to identify and set it apart from other adapters. In comparison, the BookSense CD-ROM, which contains no audio tutorial or companion software, is supplied in a basic paper sleeve with no Braille label, making it just another CD among many in one’s collection. The power supply for the BookSense does feature a nice Braille label, but a switch found next to the plug provides no Braille or tactile indicator. Presuming this switch controls the AC input voltage, one might wonder how long it will take for GW Micro technical support to start dealing with burned up adapters and related hardware problems.

Documentation is another strong point in favor of the Stream. The CD-ROM accompanying the Stream features documentation in several text formats and an excellent audio tutorial created by Jeff Bishop, a broadcaster, Window-Eyes script developer and well-recognized participant in the connected online blind community. If you purchase your Stream from a dealer along with an SD card, it may contain some of this documentation in a form that is ready to read right on the Stream out of the box. In contrast, the CD-ROM accompanying the BookSense contains only the user’s manual in four text formats: rich-text format (RTF), plain text (TXT) and two Microsoft Word documents (the older DOC and the newer DOCX). There is no audio tutorial or other content. Despite the fact that both the BookSense and BookSense XT are supplied with SD cards and the BookSense XT sports internal storage, the manual is not available on the BookSense until the user copies it to the appropriate folder.

Full text navigation is available on the Stream starting at the character level and moving all the way through paragraphs, pages and headings according to the format being read. In comparison, BookSense does not currently allow character-level navigation in text DAISY files such as those supplied by Bookshare. It is hoped this serious oversight will be corrected very soon. It is important to note that the Stream experienced similar challenges in version 1.0 of its firmware.

Overall simplicity and usability are solidly in the Stream’s favor. Each button on the Stream has a well-defined function, menus are simple in nature and it is not necessary to understand Windows or other GUI concepts in order to become an expert user of the Stream. In comparison, the BookSense is a complex device. The manual describes the use of controls including combo boxes, dialogue boxes, edit boxes and menus. Each primary feature (Book Reader, DAISY Player, Media Player, Radio) is considered an application. It may be presumed that the extensive feature set found on the BookSense makes the complexity a necessary evil.

Though the BookSense XT features Bluetooth for connecting to a wireless headset, this functionality currently contains a serious bug making it unreliable. Several new BookSense owners have reported that, after reading for a short time, all audio goes silent and the BookSense completely locks up. GW Micro and the product’s manufacturer are aware of this concern and are working to remedy the issue as soon as possible.

Finally, the BookSense is a new, version 1.0 product. There are bugs, oversights and unforeseen challenges that the Stream has already surpassed during its two years in the marketplace. As the BookSense matures, bugs will be squashed and exciting new features will be added. At the same time, HumanWare representatives have assured the blind community that the Stream will continue to prosper.

Thanks go to several Twitter followers for clarifications and updates.

Window-Eyes 7.0: Releasing the Potential for Momentous Steps Forward in Accessibility for the Blind

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Window-Eyes 7.0 has just been released by GW Micro, featuring advanced object-oriented scripting and other capabilities that have the potential to unleash greater accessibility of mainstream computer software to the blind and visually impaired. Doug Geoffray, Vice President of Development at GW Micro, Aaron Smith, GW Micro’s Director of Technical Support and Web Development and Jeff Bishop, a blind software developer with the University of Arizona and an expert Window-Eyes script developer, spent time talking with me about all the advancements found in this new major release of a leading screen reader.

A screen reader simply enables a blind person to use the applications and operating system on a computer without sight by converting on-screen text into a Braille or spoken format. Intelligent screen readers like Window-Eyes deliver information in a linear format, interpret the active window, read complex web pages and perform many other advanced functions. According to Geoffray, “Window-Eyes strives to fill the role of a sighted assistant for the blind computer user.” Geoffray goes on to further explain the workings of screen reading software. In graphical user interfaces such as Windows, a screen reader must acquire text before it is rendered by the operating system. The screen reader gathers graphics, text and other relevant information into a three dimensional database known as an off screen model (OSM). The reliability of the OSM is subject to factors including the display fonts in use and the video card drivers installed on the user’s system. Current screen readers enjoy additional accessibility beyond the OSM. Screen readers can “talk to” standard Windows (Win32) controls directly, without the need to scrape text out of the off-screen model. Applications may use the Component Object Model (COM) to expose their user interfaces to other Windows programs, including assistive technology. Further, specialized interfaces such as Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA), User Interface Automation (UI Automation) and iAccessible2 allow mainstream application developers to specifically ensure their applications are accessible to the assistive technology on which people with disabilities rely. Geoffray says that use of direct Win32 controls, COM, MSAA, UI Automation, iAccessible 2 and all similar techniques are always preferred to the off-screen model whenever they provide sufficient information to make a piece of software accessible. The OSM should be relied upon as a last resort when all other techniques fail. Window-Eyes 7.0 strives to take advantage of many of these advanced techniques to increase accessibility, especially through its object-oriented scripting approach.

Although scripting is, by far, the number one enhancement found in this latest Window-Eyes release, other new features are noteworthy in their own right. Geoffray tells us that Window-Eyes is now 100 percent Unicode compliant. This enables access to foreign language text, certain PDF documents not previously readable, Microsoft Word’s smart quoting feature and any other situation where use of special symbols is required. Intelligent place markers may now be defined on dynamic web pages delivering quick access to a specific area of the page based not only on its virtual line number, but also on the text at the cursor. A new Eloquence speech synthesizer, access to the Firefox 3.0 web browser, support for the public beta version of Internet Explorer 8.0 and improved stability round out some of the other important Window-Eyes 7.0 features.

The truly revolutionary feature in Window-Eyes 7.0 is its industry standard scripting support. It has been implemented in such a way as to permit development using any object oriented programming language. JScript and VBScript hosting is built directly into Window-Eyes. “Scripting can enable access to software with dynamic, visually rich user interfaces”, says Jeff Bishop, the creator of scripts for the Winamp media player. According to Geoffray, “Many companies want to hire blind people without remaking their applications to be more accessible. In some cases, the employer may not have full control over the manner in which their applications have been developed. Instead, they hire out for scripting. Someone is contracted to write and maintain the scripts as the software environment changes.” Window-Eyes provides the facility to make custom, proprietary applications accessible through the configuration of Set files and the creation of scripts. “Scripting in Window-Eyes was developed as an additional capability to complement tried and true core functionality,” says Bishop. “It has not been built as a core framework like it has in other products. Scripts should be used only when necessary. If Set files would work, those are the best approach. They are simpler and less resource intensive. Especially with rich software architectures, scripting can provide a nice user experience. There are a number of cases for work situations in dynamic environments where interfaces aren’t accessible. Window-Eyes now delivers the ability to develop scripts to handle these cases.”

The new scripting functionality benefits end users the most. GW Micro provides a web site called Script Central where the efforts of a number of script developers are shared freely with the entire Window-Eyes user community. The site enables discussion and rating of all scripts. A few examples are especially noteworthy. Jeff Bishop’s Winamp scripts significantly increase both accessibility and usability of that media player far beyond that available with any other screen reader. Jamal Mazrui’s Install Packages script provides a painless way for nontechnical users to install just about any Window-Eyes script in 30 seconds or less! GW Micro’s Weather or Not script uses the free Weather Underground service to report the conditions for any number of locations simply by pressing a keystroke! Geoffray hopes that a number of open source collaborative projects will make scripts for complex applications available freely via Script Central. He also hopes some developers will invest significant resources into writing scripts for Window-eyes, making demo versions of their work available on Script Central along with relevant contact information for purchasing fully functioning copies.

Some in the access technology industry have expressed concerns about the potential for the Window-Eyes scripting approach to expose users to Trojan horses, viruses and other forms of malware. Bishop reminds us that the Windows operating system has relied upon scripting for many years, and these concerns are exactly the same as those we must all apply across the board with mainstream software. GW Micro has made every practical effort to minimize risks. Window-Eyes complies with any system software restriction policies set by a company’s IT staff, can be easily configured to run only scripts signed by a trusted publisher and supports encryption of scripts. Bishop believes proprietary approaches such as the one employed in JAWS are not safer than the object oriented model used by Window-Eyes. “You can run commands on the system in JAWS scripts. If anyone wants to be malicious, they will do it with either JAWS or Window-Eyes. It is a matter of IT security and user awareness. The Internet is not always a safe place.”

The future for Window-Eyes is bright. Geoffray reminds us that the web is changing. Browse mode, the core Window-Eyes facility enabling us to easily read the contents of web pages, continues to work primarily with static web sites. Browse mode will be “gutted and opened up to new web technologies.” These will include dynamic Web 2.0 (AJAX) content such as that created in accordance with the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) standard. Since Java is used in many workplace applications, GW Micro plans to implement the technology in such a way as to expose it to scripters.

We at Blind Access Journal are excited about Window-Eyes 7.0. Enhancements to web browsing, intelligent place markers, support for Firefox 3.0, full Unicode compliance and many other core features and bug fixes make this release worthy of serious consideration for current and new Window-Eyes owners. The implementation of fully industry standard object-oriented scripting support takes this release over the top! Any competent software developer can quickly create high quality scripts that increase the accessibility of applications or improve the efficiency of Window-Eyes users in the classroom, the workplace and beyond. In the tradition of GW Micro, Geoffray declares: “Whenever we do something, we do it right. We don’t use buzz words and marketing speak. Three months of public beta testing and much more private testing have gone into the development of Window-Eyes 7.0. Many weekend hours have been spent by GW Micro staff, especially near the final release.” Finally, as GW Micro’s lead script developer, Aaron Smith concludes: “We’re talking at least an entire year’s worth of pretty much constant development. That’s another thing that’s so cool about Window-Eyes scripting. It took a year, and is already on par with JAWS scripting that’s been around for, what, 15 years?”

Press Release: Window-Eyes 7.0 is Now Available

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

We at Blind Access Journal are excited about the release of Window-Eyes 7.0. In fact, we’re hard at work on an in-depth article covering this release. Please stay tuned.

GW Micro is proud to announce the official release of Window-Eyes 7.0. The maturity of Window-Eyes has reached unprecedented levels in this latest version.

The addition of scripting support provides users with the tools to enhance the accessibility and usability of third party applications, the operating system, and even Window-Eyes itself. GW Micro has always stood by the statement that Window-Eyes does not include complicated and proprietary scripting support, and that statement remains true with Window-Eyes 7.0. Instead, the addition of an industry standard scripting interface using tools that already exist in the Windows operating system allows users new to
scripting, seasoned programmers, and everyone in between to take full advantage of this powerful new feature without getting bogged down in a complex and rigid programming environment. Users not interested in creating scripts can still take advantage of scripts written by other users through an intuitive script management system. GW Micro is also proud to offer a centralized script repository where both script users and script developers can gather to distribute and discuss Window-Eyes scripts. Visit Script Central for more information.

Window-Eyes 7.0 contains several other features, including many Browse Mode enhancements, the inclusion of a new Eloquence synthesizer, support for both Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8, and overall increased speed and stability. Window-Eyes 7.0 is fully Unicode compliant, allowing for more localization options for virtually any language. In addition, Window-Eyes 7.0 is the first screen reader to provide support for iTunes 8, including access to the Apple iTunes store.

Thank you to everyone involved in the public beta cycle. Window-Eyes continues to lead the way in adaptive technology because of the dedication of our customers.

Window-Eyes 7.0 is a paid upgrade for existing Window-Eyes users. If you own Window-Eyes 6.1, you may purchase an upgrade to Window-Eyes 7.0 for $175, plus shipping. If you already own Window-Eyes 6.1, and have an active SMA, you will be receiving your Window-Eyes 7.0 CD in the mail soon. Please be patient; all Window-Eyes SMA CDs are our first priority. You may also choose to download your Window-Eyes 7.0 upgrade for immediate installation. To download the Window-Eyes 7.0 upgrade, to check the status of your SMA account, or to determine your upgrade eligibility, go to the Window-Eyes Help menu, and choose the Window-Eyes Upgrade option. Alternatively, you can visit the upgrades page, and follow the instructions. If you own a version of Window-Eyes older than 6.1, refer to the GW Micro Window-Eyes Upgrade Catalog page for applicable upgrade costs.

Window-Eyes 7.0 supports Windows 2000, Windows XP (32-bit versions of Home, Professional, and Media Center), Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista (all 32-bit versions), and Windows Server 2008 (all 32-bit versions). If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 260-489-3671, or support@gwmicro.com.

GW Micro Response to Freedom Scientific Lawsuit

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 15, 2008 — GW Micro, Inc., a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company dedicated to providing high quality adaptive technology solutions for blind and visually impaired individuals, announced today that it has received notice of a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Freedom Scientific, Inc., the self-described “world leader in technology-based solutions for people with visual impairments.” The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,993,707 for a “Document Placemarker.” GW Micro has reviewed the claim and believes it is overreaching and not consistent with what Freedom Scientific told the Patent Office when obtaining its patent. GW Micro intends to defend itself vigorously and expects to prevail in court. “As many of our users know, our screen reader — Window-Eyes — has had the capability of returning to a specific line within a webpage since version 3.1, which was released over nine years ago, well before Freedom Scientific’s alleged invention,” said Dan Weirich, GW Micro’s Corporate President. Weirich went on to note that, “The implication in a recent Freedom Scientific press release that GW Micro is ‘benefiting from [Freedom Scientific’s] investment at no charge’ is simply not accurate nor in line with GW Micro’s tradition of success and fair play.” Finally, Weirich concluded, “We will aggressively defend both our legal position and our place in the assistive technology community.”

Daniel R. Weirich

GW Micro, Inc.

725 Airport North Office Park

Fort Wayne, IN 46825

ph 260-489-3671

www.gwmicro.com

Freedom Scientific Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against GW Micro

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

We at Blind Access Journal believe it is absolutely critical that everyone in the blind community understand how our assistive technology industry operates, how the competitors operate with respect to one another and how these interactions may impact the extent to which we are able to acquire access to the information and technology available in the world around us. It is to this end that we must, once again, report on another case in which Freedom Scientific is suing one of its competitors. This time, the defendant is GW Micro, makers of Window-Eyes, the second most popular screen reader in the world. In this latest lawsuit, Freedom Scientific claims that GW Micro has violated its patent number 6,993,707 concerning the implementation of support for placemarkers on web pages in Window-Eyes 7.0. Doug has posted an article entitled Do companies really compete on who has the best lawyers? to the GW Micro Blog in response to this lawsuit. We urge everyone to review the text of the complaint below, read Doug’s blog post, make your own judgements and let us know how you believe the connected online blind community should respond. We ask that you understand that this complaint has been acquired at our own expense, and considerable effort and time have been expended in order to provide its content in an accessible format. The text below does not represent an exact replication of the original Federal Court filing.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

TAMPA DIVISION

FREEDOM SCIENTIFIC, INC. – Plaintiff

Civil Action No.: 8:08-cv-01365-JDW-TBM Freedom Scientific, Inc. v. GW Micro, Inc.

GW MICRO, INC. – Defendant.

COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF SOUGHT

  1. Plaintiff Freedom Scientific, Inc. (“Freedom Scientific”) is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  2. On information and belief, GW Micro, Inc. (“GW Micro”), is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Indiana and having a place of business at 725 Airport North Office Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  3. This action arises under the patent laws of the United States, 35 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.
  4. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under one or more of 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a).
  5. GW Micro has infringed, and is continuing to infringe, Freedom Scientific’s United States patent identified below by making, importing, selling, offering to sell, and/or using within the United States certain computer software.
  6. Count I (Patent Infringement)

  7. Freedom Scientific repeats and realleges the foregoing paragraphs.
  8. Freedom Scientific is the owner of United States Patent No. 6,993,707 (the ‘”707 patent”), issued on January 31, 2006, and has the right to sue on the ‘707 patent. A copy of the ‘707 patent is attached as Exhibit A.
  9. GW Micro has infringed, and is continuing to infringe, the ‘707 patent by making, importing, selling, offering to sell, and/or using within the United States computer software covered by the ‘707 patent.
  10. GW Micro has induced and contributed to infringement by others of the ‘707 patent by causing or aiding others to make, use, import, sell, and/or offer to sell goods covered by the ‘707 patent within the United States.
  11. GW Micro’s infringement of the ‘707 patent is and has been willful, has caused and will continue to cause Freedom Scientific to suffer substantial damages, and has caused and will continue to cause Freedom Scientific to suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.

WHEREFORE, Freedom Scientific requests that this Court:

  1. Enter a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining GW Micro and its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, licensees, successors, assigns, and all those acting for any of them or on their behalf, or acting in concert with them, from further infringement of the ‘707 patent;
  2. Award Freedom Scientific compensatory damages, costs, and interest for patent infringement;
  3. Award Freedom Scientific treble damages for the willful infringement of the ‘707 patent;
  4. Award Freedom Scientific its reasonable attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285;and
  5. Award Freedom Scientific such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

JURY DEMAND

Freedom Scientific demands a trial by jury on all issues so triable.

Respectfully submitted, FREEDOM SCIENTIFIC, INC.

Dated: July 15,2008

Case Summary and Attorneys from Court Filing

8:08-cv-01365-JDW-TBM Freedom Scientific, Inc. v. GW Micro, Inc.

James D. Whittemore, presiding

Thomas B. McCoun III, referral

Date filed: 07/15/2008

Date of last filing: 07/21/2008

Office: Tampa

Filed: 07/15/2008

Jury Demand: Plaintiff

Nature of Suit: 830

Cause: 35:145 Patent Infringement

Jurisdiction: Federal Question

County: Pinellas

Origin: 1

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Michael John Colitz, III

Phone: 813/227-6598

Fax: 813/229-0134

Email: michael.colitz@hklaw.com

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Matthew B. Lowrie

Phone: 617/395-7000

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Aaron W. Moore

Phone: 617/395-7000

Email: amoore@11-a.com

Plaintiff: Freedom Scientific, Inc.

represented by: Woodrow Heath Pollack

Phone: 813/227-8500

Email: woodrow.pollack@hklaw.com

Defendant: GW Micro, Inc.

Delphi Programmer Says Freedom Scientific Does Not Play Nice with the Mainstream Developer Community

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

We already know that Freedom Scientific’s JAWS end user license agreement is not friendly to mainstream developers and testers as they work to implement accessibility into their products, services and web sites. As a follow on to this concern, we now hear from Craig Stuntz who reports that no developer program exists for those who have purchased JAWS for this critical purpose. In his most recent blog article, he writes:

One would think that the makers of JAWS would want software producers to test their products with JAWS. But according to a salesperson for Freedom Scientific, there is no developer program for the tool. JAWS is moderately expensive — about $900 — but this is not a barrier for us. What we would really like is to have access to a defect reporting system for JAWS and early access to future versions of the software.

We in the connected online blind community very much do want to see developers striving to improve the accessibility of their applications! The accessibility or inaccessibility of technology makes the difference between our inclusion or exclusion from participation in critical life activities such as those involving education and employment. We urge mainstream developers to continue their efforts using screen readers from companies and open source projects that actively invite and request participation from the mainstream developer community:

We ask all mainstream developers to increase the accessibility of their software and to do so in the most favorable economic manner. Spending a thousand dollars on a screen reader for testing purposes is unnecessary. Download free evaluation copies from companies with more friendly license agreements toward developers or take advantage of free open source alternatives. Accessibility need not break the bank. We’re not asking you to go out of business. Instead, we are just asking for the reasonable accomodations that can afford us the opportunity to learn, work and participate in leisure activities.

The Need for Multiple Screen Readers

Monday, May 28th, 2007

This is another amazing article from Blind Christian. He writes about much more than the need for many of us to run multiple screen readers on our systems. The concept of a blind person being fired over technology inaccessibility remains more than repugnant to me, and I would absolutely love to learn more about the situation mentioned in the article.

Coming up on Main Menu Live for the week of January 31st, 2007 – it’s VISTA time!

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

This is it folks! The week that Microsoft and many in the world have been waiting for! It is Windows Vista launch week and we cover it this week in a very special 3 hour edition of Main Menu Live! As a very dear friend said, VISTA may stand for “Visual, information, spoken to all”. Come and find out if this is indeed the case with the first two screen reader companies to publicly support Vista and Microsoft Corporation as we present all things Windows Vista! Darrell Shandrow (a co-host for Main Menu Live) and myself will be bringing you this very special Main Menu Live. Our guests will include:

  • Daniel Hubbell from Microsoft’s Accessibility Technology Group will be joining us to tell us all about Vista.
  • Jamie Pauls from Access Watch brings us another mini product review of Rhapsody 4.0 as we prepare for one of our guests to bring them on live.
  • We may be hearing from Dolphin all about Hal for Vista. This is still in progress and if we can not bring it to you this week we will have it on an upcoming edition of Main Menu Live.
  • Mike Calvo and Matt Campbell from Serotek will be joining us to talk all about System Access and Windows Vista. Serotek has already announced support for Windows Vista and we ask Mike and Matt all about the experience of using Vista with System Access. In addition, we will talk all about ScriptSure with System Access.
  • This past week at ATIA, GW Micro announced that they will be shipping a public beta of Window-Eyes 6.1 for Windows Vista and other operating systems. We bring Doug Geoffray on Main Menu Live to talk to us all about Windows Vista. What will Window-Eyes users expect to see with this new operating system?

As you can see, it will be a jam packed show full of great news. Should you go out and buy Windows Vista? Wait a day or so and listen to this very special Main Menu Live before making your decision.

If you have any questions for any of our guests this week, then please get them to us. They can be mailed to mainmenu@acbradio.org. If you would prefer to call into the show and ask your question then simply call 866-400-5333 when the show starts. We will have open lines during the entire 3 hour show.

The on demand and podcast archives will be immediately available after the last airing of Main Menu Live on the Main Stream channel. Refer to the On Demand archives for the download or add this link to your PodCatcher to subscribe to the Main Menu podcast feed: http://www.acbradio.org/news/xml/podcast.php?pgm=mainmenu. You may also want to join the ACB Radio Main Stream replay podcast feed
which is: http://www.acbradio.org/news/xml/podcast.php?pgm=replay. Keep in mind that this weeks show will be a bit larger download for those of you that receive it with a podcatching client due to its length.

Please let everyone know about this weeks show. This is sure to be one not to miss. This new operating system will affect everyone eventually, you can count on that.

Main Menu Live can be heard on Tuesday evening at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, and at 1 universal on Wednesday morning on the ACB Radio Main Stream channel. Don’t forget that this will be a 3 hour show.

Jeff Bishop

Main Menu Producer


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