Apple's Facetime faces patent infringement suit in China

The iPhone maker is up against another lawsuit in China by a man who claims to hold a patent on a technology for a "voice network personal digital assistant."

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Apple's Facetime is the latest technology stirring up legal complaints against the Mac and iPad maker in China.

A Taiwanese man who claims to hold a patent on a "voice network personal digital assistant" technology has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging that his technology is used in Facetime, says blog site MIC Gadget. The Intermediate People's Court in Zhenjiang confirmed the lawsuit and contacted Apple, but the company reportedly has not yet responded.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update the story if we get more information.

The Taiwanese man, known only as Lee, said he discovered the alleged patent violation after buying an iPhone 4S. Working for a tech company, Lee claims to have come up with the idea for an Internet calling feature after he needed to contact people while traveling, MIC Gadget said. He also claims to have applied for a patent for the technology in 2003.

With so many companies trading patent infringement suits these days, it's difficult to know which ones are legitimate and which ones are specious. But either way, Apple has to deal with the suit, which kicks off with a first hearing in September.

Lee hasn't specified any financial amount in damages but wants Apple to stop the patent violation.

This isn't the first time Apple has run into legal trouble in China. Most notably, the company recently had to pay out $60 million to settle a dispute with Proview Technology over the iPad trademark.