A Chinese artificial intelligence company has sued Apple to the tune of $1.4 billion, saying that Apple violated a patent it owns for a virtual assistant with features similar to Siri.
A paywalled Wall Street Journal report says Apple’s products allegedly violate a patent the Chinese company owns for a virtual assistant whose technical architecture is similar to Siri.
Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co. said in a statement on Monday it was suing Apple for an estimated 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) in damages in a Shanghai court, alleging the iPhone and iPad maker’s products violated a patent the Chinese company owns for a virtual assistant whose technical architecture is similar to Siri. Siri, a voice-activated function in Apple’s smartphones and laptops, allows users to dictate text messages or set alarms on their devices.
Shanghai Zhizhen, also known as Xiao-i, is pushing for Apple to cease the “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” of all products that it says infringe on the patent, which was ruled as valid by China’s Supreme Court in late June.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to WSJ‘s request for comment.
The patent ruling is the result of an ongoing court battle between Apple and Zhi Zhen that the firms have been waging for more than seven years. The Chinese AI firm first made a claim that Siri infringes on its patent rights back in March 2013. The claim is related to Xiao-i, a chat robot system ZhiZhen has had in development since 2003.