Looks like Apple’s team of lawyers is taking a break from filing lawsuits to defend against one. A China-based company called Zhizhen Network Technology is suing the tech giant for allegedly infringing upon a 2006 patent for a “a type of instant messaging chat bot system.”
The lawsuit was filed on June 26 of this year and claims that Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, violates the patent for Zhizhen’s Xiaoi Bot. Xiaoi Bot has been utilized in China by many prominent Internet presences including MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and Shanghai Expo’s Dr Haibao. Most recently, though, the tech has been used to create Siri-like functionality for select Android devices, which is the heart of the problem.
Apple was supposedly contacted about this issue in May, but chose not to act on it. Pre-trial negotiations are said to be happening in China now, but we don’t know anything official just yet. If you’re interested, you can check out Zhizhen Network’s Siri-like program in the video above. It certainly looks quite a lot like the voice assistant on our iPhones. In fact, it looks so much like Siri that there’s almost no way the interface of the program doesn’t infringe upon Apple’s patents.
I think this lawsuit was a big mistake. To me, this looks like a Siri knock-off trying to take on the original and I can’t imagine it will end well. Perhaps some rudimentary similarities existed between the Chinese patents and Apple’s software, but I can’t imagine this will end well for Zhizhen Network Technology.
What do you guys think? Will Apple be bested in the Chinese courts, or should Zhizhen Network kept to themselves?