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Apple Accused Of Nicking “Siri” Off Chinese

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The Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology has accused Apple of violating a voice recognition technology called ‘Xiao iRobot’ it patented in 2006, for its hailed Siri voice assistant released on the iPhone 4S last year.

The Internet based software is already used by other techies including Yahoo Messenger, Microsoft’s MSN, and on Lenovo Smart TVs, reports Apple Insider.

The accusations from the China tech company comes just days after Apple settled a separate lawsuit with another local operator, who accused it of using the “iPad” name without permission locally, forcing Cupertino to pay out US$60 million as part of an agreed settlement.

The China tech company filed the claim against Apple on June 26 last, but the timing does raise questions as to why it took them so long – Siri for iPhone 4S was first released in October last, and hit China early 2012.

It also appears Zhizhen only revealed the Siri like technology in February – weeks after iPhone 4S’ China release, which could raise some doubts over the plausibility of the claims.

However, a lawyer for the firm claims to have contacted Apple two months prior in May, but received no response, forcing it to lodge the claims directly to the court, and said “but once the court confirms Apple has infringed on our patent, we will propose compensation,” reports AFP.

Apple looks set to release its latest iPad in the country on July 20th, as the booming economy becomes one of its most important markets outside the US.

Pre-trial negotiations are currently said to be underway in a China court and Apple has made no official statement on the matter.

What ever would Siri say?