A Chinese artificial intelligence company is claiming Apple’s Siri is infringing on a voice assistant patent.
A new report from Wall Street Journal explains that Chinese AI firm Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology has filed a $1.4 billion USD lawsuit against Apple, claiming the iPhone giant has infringed on a patent for its voice assistant technology.
Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology, also known as Xiao-i, is calling for 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion USD) in damages and demands that Apple cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” products that infringe on the patent, it said in a social media post.
Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009. Shanghai Zhizhen now alleges that Apple is infringing on that patent and wants Apple to stop sales, production, and the use of products using Siri. The lawsuit marks the continuation of a row that has been ongoing for nearly a decade.
Although it is possible the injunction could be granted, a former Chinese judge says it’s unlikely an attempt to ban Siri would succeed, explains WSJ:
Fang Jianwei, who is now a litigation partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm in Shanghai […] said such injunctions have to meet strict conditions and are rarely granted by Chinese courts. And the patent-infringement suit isn’t a surefire win for Shanghai Zhizhen, he added. While the Supreme Court ruled that the Chinese company’s patent is valid, the current court could still find that the underlying technology behind Siri and Shanghai Zhizhen’s patent is different enough to rule in favor of Apple.
Xiao-i is using this latest decision as fuel to renew its original patent infringement claim. The company, which specializes in natural language processing, said it filed the formal lawsuit with Shanghai High People’s Court.