Apple accused of copying software used in Siri

Whether you love it or hate it, you'll probably admit - even if only begrudgingly - that Apple's Siri is an impressive bit of software. Apple describes Siri as an "intelligent personal assistant", and while she (or he, depending on what part of the world you're in) doesn't always get things exactly right, Siri nonetheless offers easy-to-use voice interaction that doesn't require memorising a long list of pre-defined commands.

Originally developed by Siri, Inc. in 2007, Apple acquired the company and its software in 2010, launching it as an integrated part of iOS in the iPhone 4S in 2011. But Apple now stands accused of copying certain elements used in Siri, by a company that claims it got there first, way back in 2004. 


Apple integrated Siri into the iPhone 4S - but Siri doesn't always get it right... 

As Agence France Presse reports, Chinese company Zhizhen Network Technology Co. has alleged that Apple unlawfully infringed one of its voice recognition software patents. Zhizhen patented its technology in 2004 for use in its 'Xiao i Robot' software, which works in a broadly similar way to Siri, and which is offered on both iOS and Android. The company says its software is widely used across numerous industries in China, including telecoms and finance, with over 100 million users. 

According to one of Zhizhen's lawyers, Si Weijiang, "the company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed", adding: "We don't exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future." 

Apple representatives appeared at a court hearing in Shanghai today, but the case will not be heard in full until July.

Source: AFP via Business Insider | Image via Vilseskogen, Flickr

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Accepting that the fruitcake phone is the result of years of stolen tech and design is a life altering incident for your average iToot. The more resilient ones will debate, like they do here. Hilarious!

So they're suing Apple over Siri, which they claimed they were going to use on their i Robot software.

i Robot.

i Robot.

Gotta love irony.

rippleman said,
apple could cure cancer and people would still cry because its apple. sick of stupid teens...

wait, what? it's the teens that fawn over apple usually because its "cool" and "hip" blah blah blah.....

from what I witness day in day out in life and in forums such as this, only android users think like that. They have to realize phones ARE NOT fashion accessories.

neufuse said,

wait, what? it's the teens that fawn over apple usually because its "cool" and "hip" blah blah blah.....

Teens are all in on Android now because their parents have iPhones.

rippleman said,
apple could cure cancer and people would still cry because its apple. sick of stupid teens...

Apple could also charge you almost $700 for a phone with last gen specs and 5 year old UI which stinks like a week-old sofa pizza.

Oh wait, they do already!

Sick of stupid iToots....

Edited by javagreen, Mar 28 2013, 5:21am :

rippleman said,
from what I witness day in day out in life and in forums such as this, only android users think like that. They have to realize phones ARE NOT fashion accessories.

That's the biggest load of tosh I've ever read lately. Apple zealots are the ones obsessing with the fashion quotient that the fruitcake phone adds to their obviously lacking personality.

Wanna get laid? There's an App for that!

Zing!

every chinese company wins... just look at the cars they drive, blatant rip off from car companies around the world but no one sues because they never win. Apple may as well just pay up now cus there not going win this one.

psionicinversion said,
every chinese company wins... just look at the cars they drive, blatant rip off from car companies around the world but no one sues because they never win. Apple may as well just pay up now cus there not going win this one.
What chinese car lots like a rip of others...link please.

I found these - http://www.businessinsider.com...soon-be-driving-2013-2?op=1

But they dont really look much like ripoffs. The (#2) Silver one kinda looks like an older Corolla...The next one kinda looks like a Volkswagen.
I would say today's Toyota's certainly mimic many german cars more so now than ever. But what I see in that link, I would say is left up to you to decide.

What gets me even more, is how long these companies wait to claim that their patents are being infringed on. A company like Apple I am sure has a ton of patent lawyers that are supposed to search for patents before a product is released. I have with several firms where this is the case. Yes Apple has a crazy patent reputation, but I doubt that Apple completely missed this patent, but maybe they did. Either way if you own a patent, there should be so kind of time limit you have to file for infringement, so companies can't wait 5-6 years to claim it. Its not just this case, but we have seen this with Google, Apple and Microsoft as well.

Welcome to China, their law only protect their own companies. They can bend the law anyway they want to benefit their own.

Shadowzz said,

Uploaded feb 2012. I think Siri is older then that. Please come with a video that's uploaded before the iPhone 4s was released.
what u dont understamd sherlock is yes the name siri is older than that video. APPLE bought that company. What they stole was the gui and patent software of this chinese company who had their app since 2004. The date the video was uploaded is nor relevant.

SK[ said,]Since when did China care for copy infringements?

China itself my not care, and certain companies. But when a companies products are copied that they have rights to, then they are like anyone else and wants to protect their property.

SK[ said,]Since when did China care for copy infringements?
Yes we are aware that there are chinese KIRF that even have a phone that looks identical to an iPhone. I am sure Apple doesnt like that, but I dont see Apple suing them. Yet they sued Samsung claiming the Galaxy S looks like an iPhone when it doesnt and yet there is a company that makes a phone that is identical and Apple does nothing.

Anyways if you steal from another country and then make billions of theoir technology, you can expect they will be pretty ****ed.

SK[ said,]Since when did China care for copy infringements?


China and Chinese companies care when they are the ones being copied.

What? This is old. Where you guys been? This was first publish by PCWORLD way back in July of last year.

http://www.pcworld.com/article...ed_patent_infringement.html

What brings it back now?

Also, if you go an look at the application, you will see compared to the original Siri app Apple pulled off the app store to the app the Chinese have, you will see Apple not only copied, they basically copy and pasted everythine single element only changing it to English titles vs Chinese.

Blantant stealing by APple thinking we wouldnt find out. The company who Jobs said is "shameless about stealing" and that "good artist copy and great artist steal", has no problem stealing other peoples stuff. But let anyone remote look like APple and they are ready to sue in a minute. Apple will surely lose this one if it goes ot trial. I see Apple paying a fortune to the tune of at least $200M USD because that is the very least I would sue for.

Greg Hughes should be suing them too for APple stealing his wifi sync app. They even copied his icon. Theiving *******. Yet they have nerve to sue Samsung. HYPOCRITES.

From the article:

Apple representatives appeared at a court hearing in Shanghai ***today***, but the case will not be heard in full until July.

(emphasis added)

SoylentG said,
From the article:
(emphasis added)
Yes I am aware...that wasn't my point. My point was along the lines that it was filed last year. I thought by now they had settled and this was over.

Question: is it for the UI, or voice recognition software? Both articles here and from the source say "patent for voice recognition software"... I'd just like to know what they have patented, and what's being established as being copied.

dead.cell said,
Question: is it for the UI, or voice recognition software? Both articles here and from the source say "patent for voice recognition software"... I'd just like to know what they have patented, and what's being established as being copied.
I am pretty sure the patent covers the UI as well as the UI is how the software is able to be seen and used by the user. The voice recognition aspect is also seen. They even stole the icon. I mean look at it. All Apple did was change the variant to English. Even thetiles that show the info is exactly the same. Its almost like they took a phone that had this on it and copy and pasted the code into iOS at the kernel level and made it work...whcih is likely why it worked like crap even with only little usage. Even today Siri is barely used proving it was nothing more than a gimmick to sell you an iPhone 4 with a faster processor, where they basically changed nothing else. Same camera, same design other than they fixed the antenna inside...same CPU only faster...and they added some RAM. Same battery only slightly bigger. Same phone, same screen, same resolution...same ole Apple.

I am so conflicted. On one hand, this is a Chinese company and while there is no accusation that this company did it, in general, copyright has never stopped a Chinese company from copying before. On the other hand, Apple has a tendency to copy whatever they want, but drag into court over claims of copyright infringement. Who am I to support?

majortom1981 said,
If its true this company did it first in 2004 then the Chinese company. Since the suit looks to be in china apple will most likely settle.
Not an "IF"...DID. I posted the video and a original article. Even Engadget had the article - http://www.engadget.com/2012/0...eading-on-patent-with-siri/ - I don;t understand how somneone can look at facts like a video and still say "IF" someone is guity of something. Its like a criminal watch a video of himself robbing a store and then claim "that's not me".

What you have to look at is Apple's Siri involves 2 different apps. If you Google the original Siri app that was avail on Apple's AppStore, it looks nothing like what we see today.

What it looks like they did was buy the company that made Siri so they could have full rights to the name, this was likely cheaper than trying to just steal the name like they usually do and pay later. Then they stole the XIAO app and used its UI and integrated it into iOS for the iPhone 4S.

I am sure Apple expected to get sued. They dont care. They did it with their compnay name, the MacIntosh name, iPhone, iPad and more. In fact every product with exception to the Newton that Apple sold they stole the name first and resolve paying or licensing later.

Edited by Hi_XPecTa_Chens, Mar 27 2013, 4:32pm :

Just off the top of my head :-
Graphical user interface
Mice
Whole bunch of Samsung patents (depending on what part of the world, some upheld, others not)
Touch Screen phones
Siri

SoylentG said,
I am so conflicted. On one hand, this is a Chinese company and while there is no accusation that this company did it, in general, copyright has never stopped a Chinese company from copying before. On the other hand, Apple has a tendency to copy whatever they want, but drag into court over claims of copyright infringement. Who am I to support?

That's easy: neither. Take a neutral stance. Do you think you or anyone else on this site will know the full story? Do you think you or anyone else on this site will do enough research to have a meaningful opinion? We like to get all wrapped up and emotionally invested whenever anything related to technology hits a courtroom, but the truth is, we're even less informed than the judges we all too often accuse of being out of touch.

You may have your own principles, but principles without facts are just chest thumping, after all. *shrug*

> @SoylentG, "in general, copyright has never stopped a Chinese company from copying before"

you need to distinguish 'a company in china' and 'all companies in china', since your wording looks very much like blanket racism. All the more odd of you to then back up your opinion with a specific example of an American company that's been known to copy.

If anything, this is a clear cut example of a Chinese company that is trying to play by international rules on intellectual property, and that has to be seen as a good thing rather than being so quick to bash them.

maxslaterrobins said,
“Apple has a tendency to copy whatever they want” Okay, give me five examples...

I only have to give one that is such a blatant copy that it proves my point - Achievements. And I am not talking about the vague idea behind it, where you get points for doing something in a game, but the actual name Achievements. We are not talking about some name like how the name iPhone was being used by a company in Mexico (or how they used the name even though it was a product on the market in use by Cisco). Using the name of a product available in a separate country, you may not know about the name and is a bit understandable. But the actual name Achievements, in use for years on the XBOX, a big part of the experience on the XBOX. At least when Sony copied the idea, they changed the name to Entitlements and then renamed it to Trophies before shipping. But Apple could not find any name other than to copy the name Achievements, causing confusion between Achievements on the XBOX and iOS Game Center.

"Picasso had a saying: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas" -Steve Jobs

shao said,
> @SoylentG, "in general, copyright has never stopped a Chinese company from copying before"

you need to distinguish 'a company in china' and 'all companies in china', since your wording looks very much like blanket racism. All the more odd of you to then back up your opinion with a specific example of an American company that's been known to copy.

If anything, this is a clear cut example of a Chinese company that is trying to play by international rules on intellectual property, and that has to be seen as a good thing rather than being so quick to bash them.

First off, racism? I don't think you know what that word really means. I am not saying anything about the Chinese people, but rather the economic culture setup in China the country where copying has become part of just doing business. You don't know if I am white, black, red or yellow, but when it seems like one person is criticizing another, the race card is thrown out because it is one way to shut down the discussion. Sorry, I don't play that way.

Second, I was specifically trying to avoid accusing this company of being part of the culture of copyright violation. I did that when I wrote:

There is no accusation that this company did it

maxslaterrobins said,
“Apple has a tendency to copy whatever they want” Okay, give me five examples...

Like for example, the clock design, the overall design from Samsung F700, slide to unlock from WinCE devices, notification bar from Android, WiFi Sync, Camera unlock.... well... there are many many things really.

Not sure how Apple could have copied, if they acquired the company that made the technology to begin with. Also, from the looks of it, the voice recognition technology was used from Nuance, the people who make the Dragon Dictation software. They have a licensing agreement with Apple as far as I can tell.

maxslaterrobins said,
“Apple has a tendency to copy whatever they want” Okay, give me five examples...

1 - they copied/stole elements of the UI from the Star computer at XEROX PARC
2 - they copied/stole the notification bar that is on Android
3 - the orginal iPhone was scrapped after Apple saw the LG Prada at a showing and they stole elements of the design which became more apparent with the iPhone 4
4 - The name Apple, McIntosh, iPhone, iPad and iPod were all stolen names from other products and product names.
5 - they stole/copied XIAO I robot graphical user interface for Siri.

Would you like me to list 5 more things? Bec that pretty much cover every product APple ever sold...which you can see isn't many.

maxslaterrobins said,
“Apple has a tendency to copy whatever they want” Okay, give me five examples...

Oh, and since you now write for this site, a "journalist" if you will, I would expect you to be at least be able to investigate before shooting off like that. But then, you did say that you are a "devout OSX user" so I guess being able to objectively look at the information makes that a tough thing to do.

TechieXP said,

1 - they copied/stole elements of the UI from the Star computer at XEROX PARC
2 - they copied/stole the notification bar that is on Android
3 - the orginal iPhone was scrapped after Apple saw the LG Prada at a showing and they stole elements of the design which became more apparent with the iPhone 4
4 - The name Apple, McIntosh, iPhone, iPad and iPod were all stolen names from other products and product names.
5 - they stole/copied XIAO I robot graphical user interface for Siri.

Would you like me to list 5 more things? Bec that pretty much cover every product APple ever sold...which you can see isn't many.

stole the Swis rail clock imagery......

TechieXP said,

1 - they copied/stole elements of the UI from the Star computer at XEROX PARC
2 - they copied/stole the notification bar that is on Android
3 - the orginal iPhone was scrapped after Apple saw the LG Prada at a showing and they stole elements of the design which became more apparent with the iPhone 4
4 - The name Apple, McIntosh, iPhone, iPad and iPod were all stolen names from other products and product names.
5 - they stole/copied XIAO I robot graphical user interface for Siri.

Would you like me to list 5 more things? Bec that pretty much cover every product APple ever sold...which you can see isn't many.

Really? Stealing and copying are willful acts. There's already a profound amount of history behind the Macintosh name. Even if another company was using the word, no *theft* took place. Same goes for their iProducts, which were just Apple being Apple with their boring iNaming scheme, and is no different from all the eCrap trademarks of the 90s.

And FWIW, thank god SOMEBODY stole the Star UI. Xerox had no desire to spearhead a personal computing movement.

Dealers of Lightning is an -okay- narrative of the history there, if you're looking for a read about it. I could barely stomach the fluffy, hyperbolic rhetoric from its talentless hack of a writer, but there's some good story to it.

TechieXP said,

1 - they copied/stole elements of the UI from the Star computer at XEROX PARC
2 - they copied/stole the notification bar that is on Android
3 - the orginal iPhone was scrapped after Apple saw the LG Prada at a showing and they stole elements of the design which became more apparent with the iPhone 4
4 - The name Apple, McIntosh, iPhone, iPad and iPod were all stolen names from other products and product names.
5 - they stole/copied XIAO I robot graphical user interface for Siri.

Would you like me to list 5 more things? Bec that pretty much cover every product APple ever sold...which you can see isn't many.


They did not steal the GUI, XEROX didn't want to do anything with it first of all and wanted to stop developing it.
Like android didn't copy the notification bar...
Everybody designs similar if a certain design seems to be winning. Almost every smartphone looks alike if it wasn't for the colors and cases.
Stealing a name like Apple... Really dude There've been countless of companies named Apple before and will be countless more in the future. Its quite a generic name.
Funny if they stole the design, if that where true their patent for the design wouldn't hold in court and why haven't they lost a battle then?

Panorama + Notification Bar = Android
iMaps = Google Maps (Opps)
Ping = Facebook, Twitter
iPad = Samsung´s Photoframe
iPod = Creative Technology and Walkman
‘iPhone' name = Linksys' iPhone®
Original iPhone = Samsung's S700 Mp3 Player
iPhone 4 & 4S = LG's Prada
iMessage = BlackBerry Messenger
Siri = Xiaoi Bot + Nuance
App Store = Ubuntu Software Center
Bigger Screen = Everybody else
MacBook Air = HP's Sojourn
Macsafe = Asian Crockery
Thunderbolt = Intel
OSX, iOS = Unix
Newton = Psion Series 3, HP 95LX
Apple Logo = Genesis 1:6, 3:6
Aluminum = Cheapest Metal
Plastic = ($$$ Reinforced Polymers)
Security = Buy a new one...

TechieXP said,

1 - they copied/stole elements of the UI from the Star computer at XEROX PARC

Credibility lost already. Well done.

VHMP01 said,
Post = bad

If this post is supposed to be against Apple, it sure does a crappy job of it. You could easily say things like this about any manufacturer. This is what annoys me sometimes about Apple hate: there are dozens of reasons to be annoyed with Apple, but many people list none of those reasons at all. It's always some half-baked argument that you could easily interchange the word "Apple" for another company.

Also, I'll go ahead on the preemptive and say I'm not an Apple fan either, nor do I own or use their hardware, software, or otherwise.

dead.cell said,

If this post is supposed to be against Apple, it sure does a crappy job of it. You could easily say things like this about any manufacturer. This is what annoys me sometimes about Apple hate: there are dozens of reasons to be annoyed with Apple, but many people list none of those reasons at all. It's always some half-baked argument that you could easily interchange the word "Apple" for another company.

Also, I'll go ahead on the preemptive and say I'm not an Apple fan either, nor do I own or use their hardware, software, or otherwise.

Sure, companies copy from each other all the time, and as long as they are not violating patents, there is nothing against the law in doing it. Microsoft copies from others, Apple copies from others, it haps in the tech industry and outside of it. The issue is when it is done, how people treat it. We had Max act as if Apple has never done it, and challenges people to name instances. When people list them out (while some items named is highly questionable - copying maps? That is not copying, it is just doing it) we get people like you saying it is Apple hate. People accuse Microsoft of copying all the time, are they haters? And that what makes the die hard Apple community a joke, they attack, and when it is turned around and shown that Apple does the same thing, they start whining that it is hate. Even Steve Jobs himself in the quote I gave said they steal ideas, but repeating what he said is hate? Wouldn't that make jobs himself an Apple hater? Get off the high horse and admit that Apple is like every other company, and if you don't want "hate" thrown at Apple, perhaps people like you should stop throwing it at companies and others. Until you do that, live with it because they get every bit of it in return.

Shadowzz said,

They did not steal the GUI, XEROX didn't want to do anything with it first of all and wanted to stop developing it.
Like android didn't copy the notification bar...
Everybody designs similar if a certain design seems to be winning. Almost every smartphone looks alike if it wasn't for the colors and cases.
Stealing a name like Apple... Really dude There've been countless of companies named Apple before and will be countless more in the future. Its quite a generic name.
Funny if they stole the design, if that where true their patent for the design wouldn't hold in court and why haven't they lost a battle then?
so if they didnt steal it why did xerox sue them for it in 1996?

DIdnt steal Android notification bar? So ur saying Apple couldnt have made it different yet they sued Samsung saying they could have not used similar icons as ios? Well I am done with you now.

SoylentG said,

Sure, companies copy from each other all the time, and as long as they are not violating patents, there is nothing against the law in doing it. Microsoft copies from others, Apple copies from others, it haps in the tech industry and outside of it. The issue is when it is done, how people treat it. We had Max act as if Apple has never done it, and challenges people to name instances. When people list them out (while some items named is highly questionable - copying maps? That is not copying, it is just doing it) we get people like you saying it is Apple hate. People accuse Microsoft of copying all the time, are they haters? And that what makes the die hard Apple community a joke, they attack, and when it is turned around and shown that Apple does the same thing, they start whining that it is hate. Even Steve Jobs himself in the quote I gave said they steal ideas, but repeating what he said is hate? Wouldn't that make jobs himself an Apple hater? Get off the high horse and admit that Apple is like every other company, and if you don't want "hate" thrown at Apple, perhaps people like you should stop throwing it at companies and others. Until you do that, live with it because they get every bit of it in return.

yes. But there is a difference in blantant copying and form factors that share similarities. Cars all look alike bec they share a form factor, but u can tell which brand is which usually.

Shadowzz said,

They did not steal the GUI, XEROX didn't want to do anything with it first of all and wanted to stop developing it.
Like android didn't copy the notification bar...
Everybody designs similar if a certain design seems to be winning. Almost every smartphone looks alike if it wasn't for the colors and cases.
Stealing a name like Apple... Really dude There've been countless of companies named Apple before and will be countless more in the future. Its quite a generic name.
Funny if they stole the design, if that where true their patent for the design wouldn't hold in court and why haven't they lost a battle then?

here is the thing about "stealing" the Apple name. No, it is not stolen, however they shared the name with Apple the record name, and there was an agreement that Apple computer would not enter the music industry, they did with the iPod and iTunes, and eventually there was a settlement. So what did Apple computer do, turn around and sue a grocery store named Apple because the grocer used an apple as their logo. Apple computer has no problem using the same name as some other company, even violating contracts to get what they want. But then some other company in a completely different industry has any similarity, and they will file law suits complaining over the very thing they themselves have done to other companies.

I'm not saying Apple never copied, but a lot of those examples he gave are awful lol. Also, part of the argument didn't even make sense. "Aluminum = cheap" Not sure what that had to do with anything...

TechieXP said,
yes. But there is a difference in blantant copying and form factors that share similarities. Cars all look alike bec they share a form factor, but u can tell which brand is which usually.

And how many times do we hear that company X copied Apple because of something simple? A few days/week ago there was a computer that was announced (cannot recall which one) and people immediately started jumping all over it, saying that it had a black bezel on the screen, and that made it look like an Apple design, and therefore was stealing their idea. When the Zune was introduced, people laughed because it had a bezel. But when the iPad was announced, the bezel made it beautiful, and now it is supposedly a design that should be exclusive to Apple. The first TabletPC that I had, a Toshiba Portage back in (I think) 2004 had a screen with a black bezel so that you could use a pen to swipe in from the sides. Did Apple copy them? No, they needed some space to hold onto it, and to swipe in from the sides. But now people claim that it was an Apple invention, and start legal proceedings for stealing their idea. The Apple fans and Apple themselves live in this alternate reality where they think that simple designs (a phone that is green? I had one of them back in 1978) is exclusive to Apple because they made them "popular." When XP was released there were people who wanted Apple to sue MS because the default color was blue, and Aqua was blue, therefore Microsoft was stealing their idea. As if the color blue is stealing.

SoylentG said,

....

And don't forget, it was Apple who claimed MS was copying them with the "Redmond, start your photocopiers" banners at a WWDC. Which is funny, being the photocopier was invented by none other than XEROX

TechieXP said,
Not an "IF"...DID. I posted the video and a original article. Even Engadget had the article - http://www.engadget.com/2012/0...eading-on-patent-with-siri/ - I don;t understand how somneone can look at facts like a video and still say "IF" someone is guity of something. Its like a criminal watch a video of himself robbing a store and then claim "that's not me".

What you have to look at is Apple's Siri involves 2 different apps. If you Google the original Siri app that was avail on Apple's AppStore, it looks nothing like what we see today.

What it looks like they did was buy the company that made Siri so they could have full rights to the name, this was likely cheaper than trying to just steal the name like they usually do and pay later. Then they stole the XIAO app and used its UI and integrated it into iOS for the iPhone 4S.

I am sure Apple expected to get sued. They dont care. They did it with their compnay name, the MacIntosh name, iPhone, iPad and more. In fact every product with exception to the Newton that Apple sold they stole the name first and resolve paying or licensing later.

"IF" because right now it is all just a bunch of allegations... It may look that way to YOU (oh my god, I'm so surprised by that /s ...) but after the lawyers get their arguments in it may not appear that way to a judge (or whoever the deciding authority is in China).