Siri, the usually helpful but sometimes straight-up mouthy digital assistant on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, may have put the company in a spot of trouble in China, where the company has found itself in the defendant’s chair in a lawsuit alleging it stepped on patents for Siri-related software.
Zhi Zhen Network Technology is the company that has filed the suit, claiming it filed an application for its Xiao i Robot software in 2004, and the patent was granted in 2006. Like Siri, the Xiao i Robot can perform voice interactions, interpret questions, and hold simple, straightforward conversations, AppleInsider reported.
Unlike Siri, Zhi Zhen released the Xiao software as an app that is supported by Android, Windows Phone, computers operating systems, and Apple’s own iOS. The company boasts over 100 million users (it claims), as well as companies such as China Mobile, China Telecom, and a number of major banks featuring Xiao i Robot…
The Chinese company filed the suit in July of 2012, shortly after Siri arrived in the region. Lawyers representing Zhi Zhen said that the goal of the lawsuit was primarily to have Apple cease its infringement on the patents, but a financial settlement wouldn’t be out of the question.
“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” said Si Weijiang, a Zhi Zhen lawyer. “We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future.”
Apple appeared in court on Wednesday to participate in pre-trial proceedings. A full case is expected in the July timeframe.
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