A Chinese technology firm has filed a legal challenge accusing US giant Apple of infringing its patented voice recognition software with its Siri function on the iPhone, the company said Saturday. The move comes just days after Apple paid $60 million to end a dispute over who could use the iPad name in China.
Zhizhen Network Technology Co Ltd patented its Xiao i Robot software in
2004, while Apple's Siri, which made its debut with the release of the
iPhone 4S last year, was first developed in 2007. The Chinese
company's version operates in a similar way to Apple's personal
assistant and works on the iOS and Android operating systems.
Weijiang, a lawyer acting for the Shanghai-based firm, said it had tried
to contact Apple two months ago over the alleged infringement but
received no response. "We sent legal notices to Apple in May, but
no one contacted us. We filed the lawsuit in late June to the Shanghai
number one intermediate people's court," Si told AFP. "Currently the
case is now at the court-mediated stage."
"We mainly ask Apple to
stop infringing on our patent and cover the court costs, but once the
court confirms Apple has infringed on our patent, we will propose
compensation," he added.
The company's chairman, Yuan Hui, told the Apple Daily newspaper that the firm had 100 million users in China.
feel that China has no innovation, that companies here just copy. But
in fact, we are leaders in our field, and we have created our own
innovation," Yuan told the paper. It added that Apple was also
facing legal action from another Chinese company for allegedly
infringing its "Snow Leopard" trademark.
The High Court of the
southern province of Guangdong said on Monday that Apple had paid $60
million to settle a long-running legal battle with Chinese computer
maker Shenzhen Proview Technology over the iPad name. Both
Proview, based in the southern city of Shenzhen, and Apple had claimed
ownership of the Chinese rights to the "iPad" trademark. Proview's
Taiwanese affiliate registered "iPad" as a trademark in several
countries including China as early as 2000 years before Apple began
selling its hugely successful tablet computer.
Analysts said the
Chinese government wanted the matter resolved, wary of the damage a
ruling against Apple could do for the foreign business climate in China. Greater
China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, has become Apple's
fastest-growing region, with revenues second only to the United States.