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Apple's Siri hit with infringement lawsuit in China

A Shanghai-based company called Zhizhen Network Technology reportedly says it came up with the idea for Siri long before Apple started offering it in its products.


Another day, another lawsuit out of China targeting one of Apple's products.

This time around, a Shanghai-based voice application developer, Zhizhen Network Technology, has reportedly sued Apple for allegedly infringing a patent it holds related to "a type of instant messaging chat bot system" it calls Xiaoi Bot. The company argues that the patent, which it filed for in August 2004 and was awarded in February 2006, is being violated by Apple's Siri.

Marbridge Daily, which was first to report on the story and obtained a copy of the suit, says that Zhizhen attempted to resolve the issue with Apple out of court in May. However, after Apple reportedly failed to respond, the company filed its suit in a Shanghai court on June 21.

It's worth noting that Apple didn't actually invent Siri. Instead, Apple acquired the service in 2010. The platform is currently running on Apple's iPhone 4S.

Apple has been no stranger to lawsuits coming out of China of late. After settling with Proview for $60 million over the use of the iPad trademark in China, the company was hit earlier this week with a suit from Jiangsu Xuebao for allegedly infringing its "Snow Leopard" trademark. In that case, Jiangsu Xuebao is seeking $80,645 in damages and an official apology from Apple.

In its case against Zhizhen, however, Apple might face a different story. According to Marbridge Daily, Zhizhen has so far not requested damages, but if it wins its case, it believes that compensation could exceed the $60 million Proview settlement.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via Forbes)