Having only just resolved an intellectual property case in the country earlier this month, Apple finds itself in hot water again in China over an allegations that its Siri personal assistant software violates the patents of a Chinese software developer.
Zhi Zhen Internet Technology, a Shanghai-based software developer, alleges that Apple’s Siri — which launched in China with the iPhone 4S in June — infringes on patents it holds on its Xiao i Robot application, a voice activated personal assistant program for iOS, Android, and Windows.
China’s two major telecoms, China Telecom and China Mobile, ship handsets with this software.
According to Zhi Zhen Internet Technology head Yuan Hui, the company applied for a patent covering the technology behind Xiao i Robot which it was granted in 2006. The patent filing covers “a type of instant messaging chat robot system”.
“We have a 100 million users in China, and many companies are using our product,” said Mr. Yuan, in an interview on Friday with IDG News.
Mr. Yuan says his company has attempted to contact Apple in May over the alleged patent infringement, only to be ignored. In June, the company filed a case against Apple in a Shanghai court.
“Our only demand is that Apple stop infringing on our patent,” the company said in a court filing.
“People feel that China has no innovation, that companies here just copy. But this is a misunderstanding,” Mr. Yuan said to IDG News. “We are a leader in our field, and we have created our own innovation.
Apple is also being sued in China for use of the name ‘Snow Leopard’ in its latest release of Mac OS X, by Jiangsu Snow Leopard Daily Chemical Company which says that Apple is violating its protected trademark.