Chinese company sues Apple over patent dispute

Apple-siriShanghai, March 28 : A Chinese company has sued Apple Inc, accusing the US-based tech giant of intellectual property right infringement regarding software used in its popular Siri software.

Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co, the developer of voice-recognition technology Xiao i Robot, alleged that Siri infringed on its patent, especially relating to "a type of instant messaging chat robot system", reports Xinhua.

The Chinese company said its product can respond to requests in an intelligent way based on its artificial intelligence servers and databases.

Siri, described by Apple as an "intelligent personal assistant", responds to user commands through voice-recognition software.

Both sides appeared at the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court for a preliminary hearing Wednesday to present evidence to the court before a formal hearing begins.

Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai) Co. which is responsible for Apple sales in China, and Apple Inc applied to have the case delayed, but the motion was rejected by the court.

According to evidence presented by Zhizhen, it filed for a patent for the Xiao i Robot in 2004, while Apple's Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007 by Siri Inc., a start-up company acquired by Apple in 2010.

"The product involved in the case is the iPhone 4S. But more are to be affected as Apple rolls out more new products such as the iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Mini and iPod Touch 5," said Si Weijiang, an attorney representing Zhizhen.

Apple, however, said Siri has an international patent and their products installed with Siri software are not related to the Xiao i Robot technology, so it did not violate the patent.

Apple also said that a detailed technical appraisal and analysis of Siri and Xiao i Robot should be presented as evidence to determine whether Siri has violated Zhizhen's intellectual property rights.

The company held that Zhizhen has failed to provide such information.(IANS)