Apple in court in China over 'Siri' claim (Update)

Mar 27, 2013 by Amanda Wang
This file photo shows Apple's Senior VP of iOS, Scott Forstall, speaking about Siri app, in Cupertino, California, on October 4, 2011. Apple appeared in a Shanghai court on Wednesday, accused by a Chinese firm of copying software used for the "Siri" personal assistant on its hugely popular iPhones.

Apple appeared in a Shanghai court on Wednesday, accused by a Chinese firm of copying software used for the "Siri" personal assistant on its hugely popular iPhones.

The Californian company's products are big sellers in China, and chief executive Tim Cook said in January he expects it to surpass the US as the firm's largest market, but the relationship is sometimes troubled.

Shanghai's Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claims Apple infringed its patent for voice recognition software, and the two companies were summoned to present evidence at a pre-trial hearing, representatives of the Chinese firm said.

The legal challenge comes after Apple last year paid $60 million to Chinese computer maker Shenzhen Proview Technology to settle a long-running dispute over the "iPad" trademark, whose ownership was claimed by both companies.

State media have also attacked Apple in recent days, with the People's Daily urging consumers in a commentary to "strike away Apple's unparalleled arrogance" for alleged double standards in customer service and returns policies.

Apple has denied those accusations in statements to Chinese media.

Zhizhen says it patented its "Xiao i Robot" software in 2004, while Apple's Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.

Siri, described by Apple as an "intelligent personal assistant", responds to a user's commands through voice recognition software.

The Chinese company's product operates in a similar way and works on Apple's iOS system as well as rival Android.

It has wide application in areas including telecommunications, finance and e-commerce and Zhizhen claims more than 100 million users in China, according to a statement.

"The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed," Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.

"We don't exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future," he said.

In court Apple denied the allegations and unsuccessfully asked for the case to be rejected, he added.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

The full case is scheduled to be heard in July, Zhizhen spokeswoman Mei Li told AFP.

"We surely have confidence, our lawyers also told us they have confidence, but of course we will have to see how the judge will rule," she said.

Explore further: China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple faces new legal challenge in China

Jul 07, 2012

A Chinese technology firm has filed a legal challenge accusing US giant Apple of infringing its patented voice recognition software with its Siri function on the iPhone, the company said Saturday.

Firm claims Apple infringing trademark in China

Feb 07, 2012

A Taiwan-linked company which claims ownership of the iPad trademark in China has filed lawsuits and lodged complaints against Apple for infringement, according to a lawyer.

Recommended for you

China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

Dec 21, 2014

China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

Dec 20, 2014

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

Dec 20, 2014

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

Dec 19, 2014

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
3 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2013
Fools.

This is what's wrong with patents in the first place.

If two inventors both seek to make an ideal device for the function they have in mind, they will inevitably arrive at the exact same design, eventually, since technology converges to the best possible design.

Why should ONE person or company full rights to the best possible design when the other did just as much work?
Aloken
not rated yet Mar 27, 2013
Why should ONE person or company full rights to the best possible design when the other did just as much work?


Why should an athlete win a race just because he made it to the finish line first if others put just as much effort into completing the race?

Why would anyone spend time and effort into creating new things when they can just wait for someone else to do it, copy and claim they worked on it too?
nowhere
not rated yet Mar 27, 2013
Why should an athlete win a race just because he made it to the finish line first if others put just as much effort into completing the race?

Inaccurate analogy.
Why should your athlete be disqualified becasue the time he ran the race in was the same time someone last year had?
mjlavall
1 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2013
Inaccurate analogy.
Why should your athlete be disqualified becasue the time he ran the race in was the same time someone last year had?


Inaccurate analogy

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.