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July 3, 2013

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Zhizhen, Apple lock horns as patent row heats up

A LOCAL firm which has the patent rights to "Xiao i Robot" and has accused Apple Inc of infringement with its Siri application, provided new evidence to the Shanghai No. 1 People's Intermediate Court yesterday to prove that the two were very similar.

Shanghai Zhizhen Internet Technology Co insisted that Apple stop producing, selling and using its products which are supported by Siri, including iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (5th generation), iPad (4th generation) and iPad Mini.

Apple demanded that the lawsuit should be rejected as Siri's server was based in the US.

Zhizhen is a big supplier of intelligent voice-activated systems with over 100 million users in more than 100 countries and regions, the court heard.

It had applied for patent rights in 2004 and the patent took effect immediately after it was publicized in 2006, the court heard.

Zhizhen got the patent license from China's State Intellectual Property Office in 2009 ? much before Apple came up with its own Siri application.

The Pudong Appraisal Center of Intellectual Property yesterday indicated that the Siri technology fell within the scope of patent protection and could be seen as infringement. But Apple rejected the argument.

"Siri has only one US-based server and its corresponding database, totally different from Xiao i Robot, which has three servers for queries, artificial intelligence and games," Apple said.

Zhizhen's lawyer used the Siri system in an iPad Mini in court to prove that it can recognize formatting commands and natural sentences, search information and open applications for games such as game center - technical features that are similar to "Xiao i".

Apple defended that the technology of Siri was different from that of Xiao i.

"When Xiao i takes in customers' words, it uses a filter to divide them into two parts: formatting commands and natural sentences," Apple's lawyer said.

"Then it sends the formatting commands to the query server and the natural sentences to artificial intelligence server. Siri uses no filter and can process sentences by itself."


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