Financial News

  • 28 March 2013, 7:15

Apple Sued In China Over Siri Patent Claims

Apple is being taken to court in China for alleged copyright infringement on its Siri feature.

Shanghai's Zhizhen Network Technology Co claims Apple infringed its patent for the voice recognition software.

Siri is a "virtual personal assistant" which responds to voice commands and lets users do things such as send messages and search the internet.

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

The Chinese company's product works in a similar way to Siri and also works on Android as well as Apple devices. The firm claims it has 100 million users.

"The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed," said a lawyer for Zhizhen.

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

Apple was represented in Wednesday's initial court hearing in Shanghai but the full case is scheduled for July.

Last year, the US company settled another law suit in China that paid a separate firm, Shenzhen Proview Technology, $60m (40m) over a long-running row concerning the iPad trademark.

Patent cases are common in the technology world with big money at stake and rival products often having very similar features and design.

Apple's much-publicised legal battle with Samsung has been fought in eight different countries.

However, a US judge this month slashed nearly half of the $1bn damages originally awarded to Apple for alleged infringement of its patents.

When asked for a response on the latest case Apple said it did not comment on pending litigation.