Apple Inc loses Siri patent rights case in China

Written by AFP | Beijing | Updated: Jul 10 2014, 13:53pm hrs
Apple-SiriApple's Siri, which responds to a user's commands through voice recognition software, made its formal debut with the release of iPhone 4S in 2011.
US technology giant Apple has lost a lawsuit against a Chinese state regulator over patent rights to voice recognition software such as the iPhones Siri, a Beijing court said.

The legal battle begun in 2012 when Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology pursued Apple for allegedly infringing its Chinese patent with Siri, its intelligent personal assistant.

Apple asked Chinas patent review board, which operates under the State Intellectual Property Office, to declare Zhizhens original patent ineffective but the request was rejected.

Late last year the US technology giant appealed to Beijings Number One Intermediate Peoples Court to overturn that decision.

The court did not support the cause of action stated by Apple, the court said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to the case in which Apple brought a lawsuit against the government agency.

The patent for the invention of the type of chatbot system involved remains effective, the court said, referring to Zhizhens patent.

Apple had decided to appeal to the Beijing Higher Peoples Court, it added.

Apples Siri, which responds to a users commands through voice recognition software, made its formal debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, while Zhizhen claims its earlier Xiao i Robot product works in a similar way.

It is not the first time that Apple has been embroiled in intellectual property right infringement and controversy in China, where its products are popular.

Apple in 2012 paid $60 million to settle a separate legal dispute with a Chinese firm over the iPad trademark.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment by AFP.