Apple heads to court over Siri patent infringement allegations


GADGET DESIGNER Apple is facing another court battle this week with a Chinese firm claiming the iPhone-maker infringes its patents in its Siri app.

Zhizhen Network Technology, the developer of a voice technology called Xiao i Robot, claimed that Apple’s Siri voice enabled robotic assistant infringes a patent relating to “a type of instant messaging chat robot system”. Apple, naturally, claimed that it doesn’t.

The two firms’ began their court battle yesterday, with Zhizhen arguing that Apple should stop making and selling products in China that come with the Siri application preloaded, including the iPhone 5 and the latest iPad. It claimed this should happen because it filed a patent in 2004 for the “Xiao i Robot” software, which was approved two years later, and which Apple allegedly copied.

Apple has argued, however, that while the Siri app functions in a similar way to the “Xiao i Robot”, Siri uses different technology to do so.

Apple’s lawyer argued, as quoted by AFP, “One can achieve the same results through various means. Apple has its own technology for Siri, which is totally different from the plaintiff’s.”

Yuan Yang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen responded, “We noticed iPhone 4S’ digital assistance Siri copied Xiao i Robot’s artificial intelligence technology when it came out in 2011. 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.”

This latest court battle comes after Apple paid a Chinese firm $60m for the use of the “iPad” name, following a lawsuit last year.


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