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Apple sues Shanghai firm over Siri patent rights

2014-02-25 11:02 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

US technology giant Apple is suing a Chinese government agency and a domestic company over patent rights for its Siri personal assistant, the Beijing News reported Monday.

Apple launched the case against the State Intellectual Property Office, which is in charge of patent rights protection in China, and Shanghai's Zhizhen Network Technology, which developed software similar to Siri, according to the report.

Apple declined to comment to AFP, saying it does not comment on any ongoing litigation.

The US company previously asked the State Intellectual Property Office to declare Zhizhen's voice recognition patent invalid but the request was declined, prompting the legal action, the Beijing News said.

The Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court will hear the case on Thursday, it noted.

Last year, Zhizhen itself accused the California-based technology giant of copying its "Xiao i Robot" software, patented in 2004, to develop Siri.

The case was heard by a Shanghai court in July, according to media reports, but no ruling has been announced.

Siri, described by Apple as an "intelligent personal assistant," debuted with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011 and responds to a user's commands through voice recognition software.

Zhizhen claims its product works in a similar way and has wide application in areas including telecommunications, finance and e-commerce.

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said in January last year that he expected China to become his company's largest market, though he gave no timeframe.

After years of talks, Apple finally reached a long-awaited partnership with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile services provider by subscribers, in late December 2013.

Its revenue in China reached $5.7 billion for the fiscal quarter ending in September 2013, up 24 percent from the previous quarter, according to the company.

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