Apple accused of patent abuse over Siri
Published 03/07/2013 | 12:29
Apple has been accused of copyright infringement over their Siri voice technology by a Chinese company, a Shanghai court has heard.
The Chinese company, Zhizhen Network Technology Co, claimed that Apple's Siri is a copycat of their voice technology "Xiao i Robot", and accused the US technology giant of technology infringement.
The firm claimed it filed a patent for the "Xiao i Robot" software in 2004, which was approved two years later. Apple's Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.
Zhizhen has demanded that Apple stop making and selling products in China which carry Siri, an "intelligent" personal assistant which responds to a user's commands through voice recognition software.
In Tuesday's court session, Apple's lawyers argued that the two function in a similar way but use different technology.
Yuan Yang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP: "Our main goal at the current stage is to let the court validate our claim regarding the infringement.
"We are not ruling out the possibility of mediation or compensation, but they are to be considered in the future.
Apple claimed that the technology for Siri was different from that used for Zhizhen's Xiao i Robot.
A lawyer for Apple was quoted by the Global Times newspaper as saying: "One can achieve the same results through various means.
"Apple has its own technology for Siri, which is totally different from the plaintiff's."
The legal challenge comes after Apple paid Chinese computer maker Shenzhen Proview Technology $60 million last year to settle a long-running dispute over the "iPad" name, whose ownership was claimed by both companies.
A statement by the Shanghai Number One Intermediate People's Court confirmed the session, which followed a pre-trial hearing in March. The court made no ruling on Tuesday.
Apple products are hugely popular in China, and chief executive Tim Cook said in January he expects the country to surpass the United States as its largest market.
Apple did not respond to requests for comment.