A developer of a voice assistant application, Zhizhen Network Technology of Shanghai, China, has sued both Apple and its Shanghai subsidiary, Apple Computer Trading, claiming that Apple's Siri technology infringes on a patent it holds related to "a type of instant messaging chat bot system" that Zhizhen calls Xiaoi Bot.
Siri, of course, is the voice-activated personal assistant that features prominently in iOS. A video of a recent version of Xiaoi Bot in action can be seen below. The similarities are readily apparent, down to the almost identical microphone button.
Zhizhen's patent (ZL200410053749.9) was filed on August 13, 2004 and granted on February 15, 2006. Zhizhen claims that it contacted Apple in May 2012 in an attempt to settle the issue with Apple out of court, according to Marbridge Daily, which was first to report the case. Apple reportedly failed to respond, leading Zhizhen to file suit in a Shanghai court on June 21, 2012. On June 26, the courts announced that they will hear the case.
The lawsuit apparently does not request damages in any amount. However, a Zhizhen representative said that if the courts find that Apple did indeed infringe on Zhizhen's patent with Siri, or if Apple agrees to a settlement, the payment will likely be an even greater amount than the $60 million USD that Apple paid to settle its iPad trademark dispute with Proview.
Source: Marbridge Daily