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Apple back in court as Shanghai firm takes offence at Siri

Shanghai Zhizhen wants Cupertino to stop making all Siri kit

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Apple has been back in a Shanghai court this week defending claims by a local company that Siri voice assistant technology infringes one of its patents.

Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology is suing the fruit-themed tech giant’s Apple Inc and Apple Trading (Shanghai) businesses for alleged IPR infringement.

In Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate Court on Tuesday it claimed that five Siri-powered Apple products including the iPhone 4S copy its own “Xiao i Robot” for iOS and Android, which was first patented in 2004, years before Siri appeared.

Unlike many Chinese technology firms which end up in court with Apple, Shanghai Zhizhen is not seeking a big pay-out, only requesting that the fruity i-slab maker stop manufacturing and selling Siri-based products, according to Xinhua.

For its part, Apple’s lawyers are apparently maintaining that although the two products are designed to perform similar tasks they do so thanks to different underlying technology.

Unsurprisingly they want the court to reject all requests from Shanghai Zhizen.

Cupertino’s legal team has had a tough time of it in the Middle Kingdom recently, losing a couple of copyright infringement cases brought by Chinese authors who saw their work uploaded without their consent to the local App Store.

This follows the $60m (£38m) it was forced to hand over to Shenzhen firm Proview Technology for the right to use the iPad name in China.

Siri is also causing trouble for the firm elsewhere in Asia, after Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University filed a patent infringement suit against it in a Texas court last year. ®

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