Chinese Firm Sues Apple for Siri Patent Infringement

Apple has been hit with yet another lawsuit in China over patent infringement. Zhizhen Network Technology claims that Apple’s Siri infringes on a patent the company has held since 2006.

Hot on the heels of the iPad and Snow Leopard disputes, M.I.C. Gadget reported that Apple has been presented with another lawsuit in the Chinese courts. Zhizen Network Technology, a voice-assistant developer from Shanghai, has a patent for “a type of instant messaging chat bot system” which they called Xiaoi Bot.

That patent was filed on August 13, 2004 and granted on February 15, 2006. It has been used by many services such as Microsoft MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and Shanghai Expo’s Dr Haibao, among others.

The following video shows Xiaoi Bot at work.

The following video shows Xiaoi Bot at work.

Apple’s Siri was introduced in China on January 13, 2012, and Chinese language support for Siri was announced at Apple’s WWDC keynote on June 11. Developers were encouraged to get their apps ready for China.

While Zhizen has held its patent since 2006, it wasn’t until February that the company announced the Siri-esque voice assistant. In addition to a phone application, Xiaoi Bot is also available on the Lenovo Android 4.0 Smart TV.

Zhizhen sent notice to Apple in May seeking mediation to resolve the dispute, according to M.I.C. Gadget, and Apple did not respond to the request. The dispute is now in pre-trial negotiations according to the Chinese court.