Patents

Harness Dickey Helps Semantic Compaction® Systems to Assist Disabled Individuals to Speak Out

Challenge

From a poster board presentation to a multi-million dollar company with global reach, Harness Dickey attorneys advised and continues to counsel Semantic Compaction® Systems, Inc. (SCS) in their mission to help severely handicapped individuals to communicate easily with others. Bruce R. Baker, a linguistics professor, originally developed Minspeak® after meeting intelligent people who were physically unable to write, talk or use hand signs. He employed his classical linguistics training to create a visual language system based on combinable multi-meaning symbols. The Minspeak® system continues to be actively used by individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, motor speech disorders, developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and adult onset disabilities, among others.

When Baker approached our lawyers in the early 2000s, we helped him to advance and protect his original idea on a global scale and become a market leader. With the Minspeak® system, hundreds of words and sentences can be encoded and accessed with very few keystrokes. Additionally, speech-language pathologists are now using the system to teach children with developmental disabilities.

Although Baker’s basic patents are now expired, the attorneys at Harness Dickey encouraged him to continue to patent improvements in his technology and to expand his protection worldwide in order to grow, expand and protect his global market share. Today, SCS owns patents in many countries around the world and develops, translates and licenses iconic interfaces for computers in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese and Swedish.

Solution

Harness Dickey attorneys have served as general intellectual property counsel for SCS for decades. Our primary goal from the very beginning was to help founder and President Bruce Baker turn his lifelong fascination with linguistics into a lifelong passion for helping individuals with physical disabilities. Baker notes that “… the most rewarding aspect of my work is getting to know people with complex disabilities who, though unable to talk, want to participate in life to its fullest.” Baker regularly evolves his technology to meet the ever expanding needs of his growing clientele, and Harness Dickey is there with him, continuously procuring patents for Baker around the world.

Our team was retained to draft, file and patent many improvements over the years to build upon the patents obtained to begin the company. We work diligently with Baker and SCS to identify, prosecute and protect SCS patents from challenges both in the U.S. and abroad. Harness Dickey, Baker and SCS continue to fend off others trying to take his valuable symbol sequencing technique, leading to expanded licensing efforts and decreased competition. Through the global patenting of their ongoing improvements on their originally developed concepts, Baker and SCS continue to expand their robust and worldwide patent portfolio and maintain critical market share.