Apple is very quick to jump on rival companies who infringe upon its patents, and the company is currently embroiled in a number of legal battles with the likes of Samsung and HTC. But sometimes, Apple is on the receiving end of these complaints. In China, the Cupertino company is being sued for infringing upon a voice assistant patent with its Siri feature.
Zhizhen Network Technology, the creator of a feature called Xiaoi Bot, claims that Apple’s voice-controlled assistant is guilty of infringing upon one of its patents which covers a “type of instant messaging chat bot system.” Xiaoi Bot integrates with instant messengers like Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger, and also comes pre-installed on some devices, such as Lenovo’s upcoming Smart TV.
Xiaoi Bot reportedly looks a lot like Siri, so much so that you could accuse its creator of copying. However, Xiaoi Bot has actually been around a whole lot longer; the patent in question was applied for way back in 2004 — when the iPhone was just an idea at the back of Steve Jobs’s mind.
What’s interesting is that Zhizhen appears to have a problem with Apple’s description of Siri on its website, rather than Siri itself. What’s even more interesting is that the description the company refers to in its complaint has now been removed from Apple’s website.
Despite its removal, Apple is yet to respond to Zhizhen’s complaint, but M.I.C. Gadget reports that pre-trial proceedings are under way.
This case comes just days after Apple settled another legal battle in China with a $60 million payout to Proview Technologies for the “iPad” trademark.