Apple has won a major intellectual property case in China, according to a Xinhua article on Want China Times. The case pertained to the company’s Siri voice recognition AI program.
Siri, is, of course, the nice lady who lives inside your iPhone and talks to you when you’re confused or lonely. The AI system is designed to respond to users voice commands, and because of the iPhone’s connectivity, can look up answers to various questions such as what time a movie starts, where the nearest Starbucks is, and so on. A start-up began working on it back in 2007, and was acquired by Apple in 2010; Siri debuted in the iPhone in 2011.
Meanwhile, Xiao i Robot started out as an online chat bot in 2003, and eventually wound up in iOS and Android mobile systems in an incarnation similar to Siri. Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology, which developed the voice recognition technology used in those mobile incarnations of Xiao i Robot, filed a lawsuit against Apple in 2012. That went to a Patent Review Committee, which ruled in Zhizhen’s favor, so Apple proceeded to sue both the Committee and Zhizhen. Now, the Beijing Higher People’s Court has sided with Apple.
It is perhaps a surprising win for an American company in a country that has historically been somewhat resistant to foreign businesses, which could bode well for Apple as it wades into the mPayment market in China along with others this year. In any case, Apple is known for its prowess in developing its intellectual property, and the company is clearly willing to defend it when necessary.