New out of Shanghai today states that Apple is suing a Chinese government agency and a domestic company by the name of Zhizhen over patent rights for its "Siri" personal assistant. The Beijing Number one Intermediate People's Court will hear the case on Thursday
The Xinhua news agency said on Monday that Apple launched the case against the State Intellectual Property Office, which is in charge of patent rights protection in China, and Shanghai's Zhizhen Network Technology, which developed software similar to Siri, the report said.
Apple previously asked the State Intellectual Property Office to declare Zhizhen's voice recognition patent invalid but the request was declined, prompting the legal action, Xinhua said.
Last year, Zhizhen accused Apple of copying its "Xiao i Robot" software, which it patented in 2004, to develop Siri. The case was heard by a Shanghai court in July, state media have reported, but no ruling has been announced. Zhizhen claimed its product works in a similar way and has wide application in areas including telecommunications, finance and e-commerce.
Siri, described by Apple as an "intelligent personal assistant", made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011 and responds to a user's commands through voice recognition software.
Apple declined to comment, saying it does not comment on any ongoing litigation.