Apple has lost a vital part of a patent case relating to its use of Siri in China.
China is one of Apple’s biggest markets, but the company received a considerable setback there when one of its major technological innovations was called into question.
As it turns out, Chinese company Zhizhen Network Technology holds a patent relating to voice-recognition software. Back in 2012, the company used this patent as the basis to seek a ban on all Apple goods running Siri.
Apple asked for this patent to be re-examined, but a Chinese court has now ruled that it is indeed valid. The way is now clear for Zhizhen to seek a ban on Apple’s latest iPhone and iPad devices on the grounds of intellectual property infringement.
“Apple believes deeply in protecting innovation, and we take intellectual property rights very seriously,” said an Apple spokesperson in response to this verdict.
“Apple created Siri to provide customers with their own personal assistant by using their voice. Unfortunately, we were not aware of Zhizhen’s patent before we introduced Siri and we do not believe we are using this patent,” they continued.
“While a separate court considers this question, we remain open to reasonable discussions with Zhizhen.”
In other words, Apple still doesn’t think Siri clashes with Zhizhen’s patent, and didn’t realise this patent existed until recently, but would be willing to reach a settlement with Zhizhen in order to facilitate the continued sale of its Siri-infused gear to the world’s second-largest economy.
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