What a busy moment for the Apple’s legal team in China! Apple now has two infringement lawsuits to deal with, the Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” trademark that we reported just days ago and now comes to Apple’s voice assistant application Siri.
The lawsuit was filed by a Shanghai-based voice assistant developer Zhizhen Network Technology on the June 26, claiming Apple’s Siri infringes on one of Zhizhen’s patents so-called “ZL200410053749.9″, which is a patent for “a type of instant messaging chat bot system” called Xiaoi Bot. The patent for Xiaoi Bot was filed on August 13, 2004, and approved on February 15, 2006. Xiaoi Bot was a type of internet bot, it had been put into service for Microsoft MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Shanghai Expo’s Dr Haibao, and many others.
The lawsuit that Zhizhen filed is not going against the trademark of Siri, but the introduction that Apple used on their China’s official website to explain what Siri is, which says “it (siri) can understand what you say and what you’re asking for, and it can find the answer that you are looking for on the web”. However, we cannot find the Siri’s introduction on Apple’s China site anymore, seems like it had been pulled down already to avoid infringement.
Zhizhen has sent a legal notice to Apple in May 2012 seeking to resolve the patent dispute through mediation, but Apple did not respond after receiving the letter. The court has confirmed that the lawsuit is currently in pre-trial negotiations. If the court rules Apple did infringe on Zhizhen’s patent, Apple is likely to receive another compensation in China, and the amount is likely to exceed $60 million US dollars in the recent iPad’s trademark settlement.
Apple’s Siri officially introduced in the Chinese market on the January 13 this year. The company announced iOS 6 at the start of this June during WWDC, which added Chinese language support for Siri. On the other hand, a timeline showed on Xiaoi’s website indicated the Xiaoi’s Siri-like voice assistant was announced on the February. Also, Xiaoi has launched their voice assistant service with Lenovo’s Android 4.0 Smart TV last month. You may check out the video below showing how Xiaoi bot performs on the Lenovo’s TV.
After all, we wonder who else is going to sue Apple in China like how Proview did, and how many more lawsuits are Apple going to face in this country.
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