Apple is suing both a Chinese government agency and a Shanghai technology business over patents involving the company's Siri voice assistant, said Xinhua, the official state press agency of the People's Republic of China (via AFP).
Apple launched the case against the State Intellectual Property Office, which is in charge of patent rights protection in China, and Shanghai's Zhizhen Network Technology, which developed software similar to Siri, the report said.
This lawsuit involves a voice recognition patent owned by Zhizhen that covers its Xiaoi chat robot system. Xiaoi began in 2003 as a chat bot for MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and other similar chat networks. It has expanded to other platforms including iOS and Android, where it bears a striking similarity to Siri.
Zhizhen was awarded patent rights for the underlying Xiaoi technology in 2006 and used these rights in 2012 to sue Apple for patent infringement. The case was heard in July 2013, but a decision from the Shanghai court was never announced. Apple failed to block Zhizhen's infringement claim when a request to invalidate the company's voice recognition patent was denied by the State Intellectual Property Office
The first hearing in this latest case will be held later this week.