After just recently paying $60 million to own the iPad trademark in China, it looks like Apple’s troubles in that country are just beginning with a new legal challenge against Siri.
Just days after settling the iPad case, another Chinese technology company has filed a complaint against Apple. They claim that the Cupertino-based company is infringing on their patented voice recognition software with the iPhone’s Siri function.
According to a report on China Daily, Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co Ltd developed a software called Xiao i Robot. The patent for the software was filed in August 13, 2004 and was granted in February 15, 2006. Siri, on the other hand, was a start-up company acquired by Apple in 2010 that started producing their namesake product back in 2007.
The company’s chairman Yuan Hui said that they had sent a legal notice to Apple back in May regarding Siri, but did not get a response. The case was formally filed last June 21 and the courts announced last June 26 that they will be hearing the case “quite soon.”
Zhizhen’s patent is for a “type of instant messaging chat robot system” that the company says currently has over 100 million users in China which include several major companies in technology and the financial industry. Their Xiao i Robot has functions that are very similar to Siri; it can “communicate through voice, and can answer users’ questions while also holding simple conversations.”
Xiao i Robot is available on various operating platforms such as Android, Windows Live Messenger and Apple’s own iOS.
According to Yuan,”people feel that China has no innovation that companies here just copy. But in fact, we are a leader in our field, and we have created our own innovation.” He says that their only demand is for “Apple stop infringing on our patent and cover the court costs.”