Apple Faces Patent Lawsuit Over Siri in China

Shanghai Daily reports that Apple is facing a lawsuit in China over Siri, with a company there claiming that Siri infringes upon its patent rights.
The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court will hold a pre-hearing at 2pm today to let Apple and Shanghai Zhi Zhen Internet Technology Co Ltd exchange evidence. [...]

"Siri is very similar to Xiaoi, a chat robot system we have been developing since 2003," said Mei Li, a spokeswoman of Shanghai Zhi Zhen which filed the lawsuit.

Mei said her company applied for patent rights for Xiaoi in 2004 in China and the patent right went into effect in 2006.
While the Xiaoi bot began life as a chat bot for MSN and similar networks, it has since migrated to a number of platforms including Android and iOS, and has evolved to look quite similar to Siri, although the iOS version of the app [App Store] uses a different style for the microphone icon and button.

Android version of Xiaoi (left) vs. iOS version (center and right)

AFP reports that Zhi Zhen, which has over 100 million users of Xiaoi, is seeking a halt to sales of infringing products, as well as reserving the right to seek compensation in the future.
"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 added.

Top Rated Comments

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90 months ago
Wait, China recognizes patent/copyright laws? Since when?
Rating: 62 Votes
90 months ago
Another gold digging expedition
Rating: 43 Votes
90 months ago
The look and behavior in that video is so exactly like Siri, there are really only two possibilities:

1) Apple stole it outright from Zhi Zhen.

2) Zhi Zhen patented the basic concept in 2004, but stole the current look and feel from Apple once Siri shipped.

The discovery process should be interesting!

(P.S., my money is on #2 above)
Rating: 27 Votes
90 months ago
Hmmm... My laptop looks "very similar" to a MBP. I think I'll sue.

Everyone wants a byte of the Apple pie.
Rating: 26 Votes
90 months ago
Getting sued by its ripoff.. Ridiculous.
Rating: 23 Votes
90 months ago
This is just ridiculous. The Chinese haven't invented anything since fireworks!
Rating: 21 Votes
90 months ago
Anyone in China claiming that they had some intellectual property stolen is laughable. Culturally, they are taught from birth that there is no such thing as intellectual property rights, and that everything is community property. They are taught that copying is a good thing.

I had a long discussion with some colleagues in China on this subject when we were trying to have them work on content that required a Certificate of Originality, and they had difficulty understanding the basic concept of intellectual property rights.

My guess is that in this case what they asserting ownership of is something they had previously stolen.
Rating: 16 Votes
90 months ago
So if the Chinese company patented this prior to the iPhone, I fail to see how the Chinese company is in the wrong. It also seems that when a company uses something similar to what you'll find on an iPhone, it's perfectly okay for Apple to sue but not the other way around?
Rating: 14 Votes
90 months ago
This is amazing! The Chinese tend to be the most blatant copyright breakers themselves and yet they have the guts to sue others. I wish all the automotive companies sued them for copying designs. That would've been an interesting day.
Rating: 13 Votes
90 months ago
Apple should just buy China

Rating: 12 Votes

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