Apple sues Chinese government agency, Shanghai based company over Siri patent dispute

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Apple has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese government agency and a Shanghai-based technology company over patents rights for its personal voice assistant, Siri.

According to the official Xinhua news agency reports, Cupertino has filed a lawsuit against China’s State Intellectual Property Office, which is in charge of patent rights protection in the country, and Shanghai’s Zhizhen Network Technology, which developed software similar to Siri.

The iPad maker had previously asked the State Intellectual Property Office to declare Zhizhen’s voice recognition patent invalid, but the government agency declined the request, which ultimately prompted the US Company to take a legal action, Xinhua said.

Last year, it was Zhizhen who filed a complaint against the California based tech giant of copying its “Xiao i Robot” software, which it patented in 2004, to develop its voice assistant, Siri.

A hearing on that complaint was reportedly held in a Shanghai court last July; however a final ruling was never handed down.

Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” Siri, which responds to a user’s commands through voice recognition software, debuted with the release of the company’s iPhone 4S in 2011.

Zhizhen claims that its product, which has wide application in telecommunications, finance, e-commerce and other areas, works as same as Apple’s Siri.

Apple’s case will be heard in Beijing Number one Intermediate People’s Court on Thursday, the report said.
Apple declined to comment anything on the matter by saying that it does not comment on any ongoing litigation.

[Source: AFP]