Apple in court in China over ‘Siri’ claim



SHANGHAI—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 will exchange 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 battle over the “iPad” trademark, whose ownership was claimed by both companies.

Apple has also come under fire from state media in recent days over its customer service and return policies.

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 added.

An official of the Shanghai Number One Intermediate People’s Court confirmed the hearing had started, but declined further comment. Apple did not respond to request 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.

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  • Hellomr

    Most of the Chinese product are hiding putting tag as made in Japan but actually made in china. We know for a fact that once it made in Japan we’re sure it is durable vise versa Once it made in china everybody knows its weak and they won’t last…….

  • Hellomr

    You cannot trust chinese people , one day it will happen china’s economy would sink out of control.. As they went up in very short period of time, without having a stronger foundation . Then all these would drop unexpected a free fall….wait and see……

  • wawa2172

    China is super power…they can claim what is not there’s kasi ang pinakamaraming mamimili sa buong mundo are the billions of Chinese themselves. China can stop american and western businesses kung hindi sila makikisama sa mga intsik. Ito ang mapapala nang investors dahil ang pinakamurang labor force is nasa tsina. Gone were the days na sa US ginagawa ang mga gadgets, tamad na kasi sila, baka pati gadgets nila sa mga war ships and planes ay assembled in China, kaya nasadsad ang USS Guardians. Time will come that China will rule the world, they have number in people, workers, army, technology and most of all money. Ayaw ko man isipin but inaanay na ang US and lubog na sa utang. Umuutang pa yata sa China. The Philippines should have a good relation with China without having to sacrifice its territorial claim. The PNoy government had wounded the pride of the Chinese starting with the NBN-ZTE and North Rail contract na ibinasura nang gobyerno. Kung may nangomisyon man, kasalanan ito nang kababayan natin dahil naging corrupt sila. Those who bid in the national broadband and north rail ay mayroon ding perang ginasta to win the contract but natalo pa rin. It does mean that projects in the current government are clean, it is sure na may commission pa rin. The road project sa Cdo to Iligan are still under construction after two years nang ginagawa at ang highways may malalaking cracks na.

  • ThudOthwacker

    If you look at the Chinese line codes and libraries. Chances are they copied it too.

  • calipso_2100

    Of all the countries…
    Chinese products are all copied from other countries’ ideas. So why are they suing?

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    China is the number Piracy country……

  • pubringjuandelacruz

    now Apple has been bitten by the dog that help grow. oh well! that’s how the business works

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