Long-time Apple foe trying to stop iPhone 13 production

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2021
A company that launched a lawsuit against Apple's Siri in 2013 has made its next legal move in the saga, and is asking Chinese courts to block the assembly and export of the iPhone -- including the iPhone 13.

Siri's new appearance in iOS 14
Siri's new slimline appearance since iOS 14


ZhiZhen Network Technology fired its latest volley on September 3. The filing includes a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the manufacture, sale, and export of all infringing products, including any and all iPhones.

"Apple should immediately stop the infringement, take down and stop selling the related products," ZhiZhen CEO Yuan Hui said.

Apple has not issued a new statement on the matter. Instead, on Wednesday, the company referred the South China Morning Post to a statement it made in 2020 on the matter.

"Siri does not contain features included in their patent, which relates to games and instant messaging," Apple said in 2020. "Independent appraisers certified by the Supreme People's Court have also concluded that Apple does not infringe Xiao-i Robot's technology."

ZhiZhen 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.

The company is not a patent troll, per se. The company released its software for the web, Android, Windows Phone, desktops, and Apple's iOS at one point. The firm maintains 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 using the technology.

The company filed suit in 2013, after Apple released Siri in China.

Apple tried to invalidate the patent in 2014, but failed to do so. Apple then counter-sued China and Zhi Zhen, but it does not appear to have been given a ruling on the matter.

Apple's first mention of speech recognition and a voice-powered assistant was in a video for its Knowledge Navigator concept in 1987. Siri's core technologies were created by DARPA spin-off SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center in 2003 -- prior to the filing of the patent. Voice recordings were made in 2005. Apple purchased the spin-off that was generated to develop the technology in April 2010.

Beyond the injunction, ZhiZhen is seeking 10 billion yuan -- about $1.5 billion -- in damages.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Morons 🤦‍♂️
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Everyone seems to forget that Apple’s Macs Had Voice recognition built into the OS to control functions going back to 2001 and was even used on iPods. Siri is new, talking to Apple products is 20 years old. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 12
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,930member
    ionicle said:
    Morons 🤦‍♂️

    Unless they have some other purpose (such as increasing name recognition), I agree.  There is zero chance that the Chinese government would approve that remedy.  It would lead to tens of thousands of jobs lost, possibly more if Apple retaliated full-tilt.  Just losing iPhone production alone would be devastating.  Apple would be hurt, but would eventually ramp up production elsewhere in Asia and the United States.  Such a drastic action would no doubt cause Apple to at least consider moving ALL its production out of China.  Then there is the nuclear option...pulling out of China completely.  While it's extremely unlikely, even a threat like that would send shockwaves though the CCP.  
    fotoformatviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 453member
    genovelle said:
    Everyone seems to forget that Apple’s Macs Had Voice recognition built into the OS to control functions going back to 2001 and was even used on iPods. Siri is new, talking to Apple products is 20 years old. 
    Voice control for Mac’s was functional in the early 1990’s. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Patent law turns on the specifics of patents. No link was supplied to the patent in question, so I cannot review what they patented. It can't be just voice recognition -- I doubt whether "voice recognition" per se is even patentable. 

    Attempts at voice recognition have been in the works for 50 years and add in language parsing and multi-language recognition even to that. 

    I was programming devices for automatic answering machines back in the 1980's like "Press or say one for ...."

    And the technology behind voice recognition has changed drastically since then. I'm not even clear what can be patentable today that will be relevant 5 years from now. The science and engineering is expanding rapidly. The last thing we need is to have IP stifle needed improvements. 
    Scot1Oferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Y'all forget we're talking about China, where the courts regularly ignore all logic and find for the home team.

    It all boils down to whether the Chinese Communist Party would rather punish Apple or placate Apple in an attempt to keep their manufacturing jobs.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,568administrator
    genovelle said:
    Everyone seems to forget that Apple’s Macs Had Voice recognition built into the OS to control functions going back to 2001 and was even used on iPods. Siri is new, talking to Apple products is 20 years old. 
    We didn't forget. The suit as spelled out by the Chinese company is less about just a voice-induced command function, and more of a call and respond with intelligent response voice assistant, which is why I brought up the Knowledge Navigator in the piece.

    Voice recognition started in one of the Quadra AV models in 1993-ish, if I'm recalling correctly. This suit is not about that.
    edited September 2021 viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    genovelle said:
    Everyone seems to forget that Apple’s Macs Had Voice recognition built into the OS to control functions going back to 2001 and was even used on iPods. Siri is new, talking to Apple products is 20 years old. 
    We didn't forget. The suit as spelled out by the Chinese company is less about just a voice-induced command function, and more of a call and respond with intelligent response voice assistant, which is why I brought up the Knowledge Navigator in the piece.

    Voice recognition started in one of the Quadra AV models in 1993-ish, if I'm recalling correctly. This suit is not about that.
    Mac OS introduced voice recognition capability in the 90s. The project was led by Kai-Fu Lee, who is a CMU graduated computer scientist. 
    From a user point of view, the function of Siri is simple and natural. You activate Sir. It listens to your question then take action. I cannot see any difficulty of iOS in handling this task and requires a patent. I guess the Chinese patent is granted too carelessly. Apple could invalidate it on this ground. Unless this company has evidence that Apple stole its code. lol
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Y'all forget we're talking about China, where the courts regularly ignore all logic and find for the home team.
    Are you sure you aren’t talking about the Eastern District of Texas?
    waveparticlemwhiteHedwaredewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 287member
    tokyojimu said:
    Y'all forget we're talking about China, where the courts regularly ignore all logic and find for the home team.
    Are you sure you aren’t talking about the Eastern District of Texas?

    One in the same haha
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    genovelle said:
    Everyone seems to forget that Apple’s Macs Had Voice recognition built into the OS to control functions going back to 2001 and was even used on iPods. Siri is new, talking to Apple products is 20 years old. 
    We didn't forget. The suit as spelled out by the Chinese company is less about just a voice-induced command function, and more of a call and respond with intelligent response voice assistant, which is why I brought up the Knowledge Navigator in the piece.

    Voice recognition started in one of the Quadra AV models in 1993-ish, if I'm recalling correctly. This suit is not about that.
    Mac OS introduced voice recognition capability in the 90s. The project was led by Kai-Fu Lee, who is a CMU graduated computer scientist. 
    From a user point of view, the function of Siri is simple and natural. You activate Sir. It listens to your question then take action. I cannot see any difficulty of iOS in handling this task and requires a patent. I guess the Chinese patent is granted too carelessly. Apple could invalidate it on this ground. Unless this company has evidence that Apple stole its code. lol
    As per the article, Apple has already tried and failed to invalidate this patent. It is valid and has teeth.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 12
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,930member
    genovelle said:
    Everyone seems to forget that Apple’s Macs Had Voice recognition built into the OS to control functions going back to 2001 and was even used on iPods. Siri is new, talking to Apple products is 20 years old. 
    We didn't forget. The suit as spelled out by the Chinese company is less about just a voice-induced command function, and more of a call and respond with intelligent response voice assistant, which is why I brought up the Knowledge Navigator in the piece.

    Voice recognition started in one of the Quadra AV models in 1993-ish, if I'm recalling correctly. This suit is not about that.
    Mac OS introduced voice recognition capability in the 90s. The project was led by Kai-Fu Lee, who is a CMU graduated computer scientist. 
    From a user point of view, the function of Siri is simple and natural. You activate Sir. It listens to your question then take action. I cannot see any difficulty of iOS in handling this task and requires a patent. I guess the Chinese patent is granted too carelessly. Apple could invalidate it on this ground. Unless this company has evidence that Apple stole its code. lol
    As per the article, Apple has already tried and failed to invalidate this patent. It is valid and has teeth.

    True, but that is a common tactic Apple and other defendants try before going through the rest of the process.  The fact that the patent is valid has nothing to do with whether or not Apple infringed upon it.  Moreover, the proposed remedy will never happen.  It's Hail Mary from a company that loses money and was de-listed from the mainland stock exchange:   https://www.scmp.com/tech/article/2141479/ai-firm-xiaoi-keen-hong-kong-flotation-after-mainland-delisting ;


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