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Chinese company sues Apple for patent infringement with Siri

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Apple showed up in a Shanghai court on Wednesday on the receiving end of a patent suit, with a Chinese company alleging that the Siri digital assistant featured in iPhones and iPads is based on software that infringes its patents.



Zhi Zhen Network Technology filed a Chinese patent application for its Xiao i Robot software in 2004, and that that patent was granted in 2006. Like Siri, Xiao i Robot features voice interactions, with the ability to answer questions and hold simple conversations.

Zhi Zhen has released versions of Xiao i Robot for the web, Android, Windows Phone, desktops, and Apple's iOS. The firm claims its technology has more than 100 million users in China, with companies such as China Mobile, China Telecom, and a number of major banks featuring Xiao i Robot.

Zhi Zhen launched its suit in July of last year, shortly after Siri became available in China. Lawyers representing the firm told AFP that the Zhi Zhen's goal is to get Apple to stop infringing, but that a monetary settlement could be a possibility.

"The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed," said Si Weijiang, a Zhi Zhen lawyer. "We don't exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future."

Apple's Wednesday court appearance was a part of pre-trial proceedings. The full case is slated for a July hearing, according to Zhi Zhen spokespersons. The two companies will in the near future exchange evidence at a pre-trial hearing.
post #2 of 35

You know, SIRI was a DARPA project which likely dates back more than a decade from 2004. Sue that.

 

The iPhone wasn't even released in 2006 and Android and Windows Phone were nowhere to be seen at that point. How can this company claim they come to the market first? I also find the UI similarity kind of... odd. The Xiao iRobot and Siri has almost exact same GUI, the same level of similarity that led to the $1B verdict against Samsung. Those companies have no shame in China, and the legal system is more likely than not to back them up.

post #3 of 35
Monetary compensation a possibility? What, was it some kind of afterthought?
post #4 of 35

Seems legit....

post #5 of 35
Curious to know what the patents in question are.
post #6 of 35

Why wait till not to sue?  All these years.  Apple bought SIRI.  Why get sued for some thing you bought?

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post #7 of 35
LOL. Seems a bit fishy.

That said, the real headline here? "China could finally start to care about IP."
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post

You know, SIRI was a DARPA project which likely dates back more than a decade from 2004. Sue that.

The iPhone wasn't even released in 2006 and Android and Windows Phone were nowhere to be seen at that point. How can this company claim they come to the market first? I also find the UI similarity kind of... odd. The Xiao iRobot and Siri has almost exact same GUI, the same level of similarity that led to the $1B verdict against Samsung. Those companies have no shame in China, and the legal system is more likely than not to back them up.

That is my exact thought. I doubt DARPA was beaten to this technology by this Chinese company. Perhaps Apple will be able to turn the tables!

In fact that makes me ask, has a suit like this ever actually backfired on the initial claimant? This company has raised its head above the parapet as using a Siri like technology. What if Apple is found to be clearly the patent holders from the DARPA history. Then surely this company is in deep dodo and may not have otherwise risen to Apple's radar level.
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post #9 of 35
I won't be at all surprised to see Chinese companies start lining up to sue Apple over IP infringement or other business claims. The Chinese government has sent signals that Apple is fair game and companies bringing suit will likely have their official approval to do so.

It almost seems like something in the China/Apple relationship has changed in the past few months. Personally I think it's China playing hardball with Apple. If they want to do business there it will be on Chinese terms including access to communications using iDevices. I think that's pretty much what they wanted from Google isn't it?
melior diabolus quem scies
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post #10 of 35

And then what?? "Apple gets sued in China over iOS UI" "Apple gets sued in China over OS X UI" Hell, "Apple gets sued over the use GUI" **** the Chinese and their third world judiciary system


Edited by dnd0ps - 3/29/13 at 8:17am
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Why wait till not to sue?  All these years.  Apple bought SIRI.  Why get sued for some thing you bought?


caveat emptor. It happens all the time. It's part of the risk of Mergers and Acquisitions. The interesting thing is whether the Patent survives in China, less so what happens in the US or other jurisdictions not currently involved. Could get to be quite an interesting scrap with quite a lot at stake for Apple in the first instance.

post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zozman View Post

Seems legit....

Do you really think Apple and Zhi Zhen Network Technology both came up with the microphone with circling purple neon high-lights?

 

Zhi Zhen Network Technology might have some voice/interaction tech and some valid patents but those were not demonstrated here.  The UI demonstrated was a 100% rip off of SIRI.

post #13 of 35
I do not understand what the patent is. Voice recognition is as old as computer science. And human computer interaction is an obvious thing. It is commonly seen in Hollywood movies.
post #14 of 35

Keep in mind this is a Chinese lawsuit. Unless apple has CHINESE patents dating before 2004 in china. they will lose. Remember this is a lawsuit in china. Seems like a valid one this time around.

 

I think apple will end up settling .

post #15 of 35

Seeking injunctions of infringing products. Sounds like the iPad trademark case. They don't want to just block sales of the products in China - since they are made in China they want to stop export as well. This prevents Apple from selling products anywhere in the world. If successful they can demand almost anything for compensation.

 

Apple is diversifying it's supply chain to rely less on Samsung for components. They need to do the same with manufacturing so a single corrupt government can't hold them hostage.

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post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

Keep in mind this is a Chinese lawsuit. Unless apple has CHINESE patents dating before 2004 in china. they will lose. Remember this is a lawsuit in china. Seems like a valid one this time around.

 

I think apple will end up settling .

 

And you know this how? Please show me the actual Chinese patent and the feature of Siri that infringes this patent.

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post #17 of 35
"Xiao i Robot features voice interactions, with the ability to answer questions and hold simple conversations."

So could the speech recognition built into the Mac Centris 660av and Quadra 840av released in the mid 1990s. , "Computer, what time is it?", "Computer, tell me a joke."
post #18 of 35
@dnd0ps It's freaking ridiculous. However, with Texas judiciary system here in the US, I can't ridicule Chinese "third world judiciary system" solely.
post #19 of 35

Waiting for Apple to buy Teddy Ruxpin and countersue Xiao

post #20 of 35
OK. If this is the case then the original violation was by Nuance who Apple bought to get Siri. However the video posted as the link was put up on 2012. Also if iOS violates the patent then so does Androids S-voice technology. Also if push came to shove the whole idea has been done as a open-source project anyway (or at least the basic idea, if I have understood the link correctly)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/cmusphinx/

I think the reason that they waited was for someone as big as Apple to integrate something that looks as though they have violated it and then put it though the Chinese courts who are not known for recognising western pattent laws. Further as pattens are partitioned into regions then the Chinese company will have to show they took out patents and kept them valid in the all the regions that they are staking a claim in.

To be honest I am getting quite fed up with the world and his wife trying the 'me too' or 'me first' approach.


Innovate DON'T Imitate!
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanading View Post

OK. If this is the case then the original violation was by Nuance who Apple bought to get Siri. However the video posted as the link was put up on 2012. Also if iOS violates the patent then so does Androids S-voice technology. Also if push came to shove the whole idea has been done as a open-source project anyway (or at least the basic idea, if I have understood the link correctly)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/cmusphinx/

I think the reason that they waited was for someone as big as Apple to integrate something that looks as though they have violated it and then put it though the Chinese courts who are not known for recognising western pattent laws. Further as pattens are partitioned into regions then the Chinese company will have to show they took out patents and kept them valid in the all the regions that they are staking a claim in.

To be honest I am getting quite fed up with the world and his wife trying the 'me too' or 'me first' approach.


Innovate DON'T Imitate!

According to Wikipedia, Siri is a spin-out from the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center, and is an offshoot of the DARPA-funded CALO project.
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post #22 of 35

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 7/23/13 at 9:43am
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I won't be at all surprised to see Chinese companies start lining up to sue Apple over IP infringement or other business claims. The Chinese government has sent signals that Apple is fair game and companies bringing suit will likely have their official approval to do so.

It almost seems like something in the China/Apple relationship has changed in the past few months. Personally I think it's China playing hardball with Apple. If they want to do business there it will be on Chinese terms including access to communications using iDevices. I think that's pretty much what they wanted from Google isn't it?

I think you are right - there has been a definite change in tone from China. Nothing happens there without implicit or explicit consent from the party. The recent 8.20 posting story was an unusual misstep for them.

Personally I don't know why the sudden chill - surely it couldn't be the recent PLA hacking scandal that was all over the news a couple of weeks back? Maybe they are trying to make some sort of an example of the biggest tech company in the world - certainly a symbol of the American Hegemony if anything else.

I would have thought everything would have been all matey at least until the last major Chinese telco has inked a deal.

Who knows with these things.... Joe Public is usually the last to find out in any case.
..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
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post #24 of 35
Since the lawsuit seems bogus, but Apple could lose in the Chinese courts anyway, they should simply threaten to stop manufacturing in China and that they'll move manufacturing to India or Vietnam instead. China is not going to want to lose those jobs, even if they are low paying and awful.

Unless, they could pay this company off for relatively very small amounts of money.
post #25 of 35
i wonder what this software looked like back in 2006 before the iphone came out. I bet they updated it recently to make it look and operate more like siri in order to fool people into buying some cheap knock off. And probably to help strengthen their case. Can't trust any information coming out of china these days.
post #26 of 35
I find it both contemptible and laughable that ANY Chinese company sue ANYONE for IP infringement, considering China is arguably the most IP infringing country in the world and that Chinese infringers are generally protected by the government - unless the infringer has angered some government official.

Perhaps if more companies got aggressive with Chinese companies doing business in the west who have infringed on western IP (like, say, Huawei) the Chinese government would start to begin to value IP and would enforce it with some real jurisprudence - or what passes for it in China, anyway.

Regardless, until western companies learn that they are mere puppets to the Chinese government and are simply tolerated until their usefulness has been exhausted, there will continue to be stories of such (what we in the west see as) abuses of power. There are only artificial market conditions in China that are allowed to exist at the pleasure of the party, until such time as a party owned company decides it has an interest in a market space in which a western company competes. Once that occurs the government brings the full weight of its displeasure to either crush, or drive the company out of China.

For anyone that doesn't think we're already at war with China - via the battlefield of economics, markets, and resources - you haven't read your Sun Tzu. Until western (and Japanese) companies understand that fact they will continue to be surprised when they are targeted and victimized by the Chinese government. Any high-tech company doing business in China should recognize, and prepare for, such an eventuality. To do otherwise is pollyanna-ish.
post #27 of 35
That sounds bizarre, and I'm not really believing too much in the chinese claim here. But then again, I might be wrong.
Let's see Apple's move.

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #28 of 35

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 7/23/13 at 9:47am
post #29 of 35

Where's the story? Please show or tell us something.

What are the patent claims?

What has been infringed?

etc.?

Otherwise it's like saying "A company wants Apple to give them some of their big pile of money." (which isn't anything new.)

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

Do you really think Apple and Zhi Zhen Network Technology both came up with the microphone with circling purple neon high-lights?

 

Zhi Zhen Network Technology might have some voice/interaction tech and some valid patents but those were not demonstrated here.  The UI demonstrated was a 100% rip off of SIRI.

 

:S where you talking to me? from my 'seems legit' comment, did you deduce that i thought that apple & random company there invented the microphone icon & the colour purple?.

 

Google 'seems legit' its used a lot in memes, its sarcasm (sar·casm  /ˈsärˌkazəm/Noun The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Synonyms: irony)

As in 'this lawsuit seems dodgy'. 

post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zozman View Post

:S where you talking to me? from my 'seems legit' comment, did you deduce that i thought that apple & random company there invented the microphone icon & the colour purple?.

Google 'seems legit' its used a lot in memes, its sarcasm (sar·casm  /ˈsärˌkazəm/Noun The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Synonyms: irony)
As in 'this lawsuit seems dodgy'. 

Probably confused with the Z's in your name.
post #32 of 35
This is China holding foreign companies ransom. This has happened in the past e.g. Google/Yahoo search. They are basically banking on the leverage of 1) There are billions of potential users in China if you want to do business, far greater than your home market and 2) Your product is made in China.
post #33 of 35
No doubt this is one of many reasons Apple & others are moving production away from China, they've been increasing their bully tactics as of late. Really it shouldn't be any surprise. The Chinese government has been putting captialist lipstic on their dictatorship for years just waiting for all these sucker companies to get roped in, now they've got them all where they want them. It's one of many reasons it's a joke that China & other dictatorships are allowed to participate in the United Nations, these dictators only care about staying in power and they'll use any means necessary.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

So everyone who lives in a city with a crime rate is a criminal?  Interesting perspective.

Yeah...because THAT'S a valid analogy...  </specious_&_stupid_troll_attempt_to_analogize>

post #35 of 35

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 7/23/13 at 9:47am
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