As you might expect Apple claims they have done nothing of the sort and sought to get the patents invalidated on the grounds that they obvious (hmmm anyone else see the irony here?). This tactic failed when a Beijing court ruled that the patents were valid and that Zhizhen had a legal claim to them. Zhizhen filed for the patent in 2004 and had it granted in 2006, a few years before Apple bought up Siri and included it in the iPhone. One very interesting quote from an Apple lawyer is: “One can achieve the same results through various means. Apple has its own technology for Siri, which is totally different from the plaintiff's.”
This statement is interesting as Apple completely rejected this theory when they went after Samsung in the US. They claimed that the only way that Samsung could have similar effects was if they copied Apple. Now that they face a similar infringement suit they are backing out on this. Many of the items that Apple has patented are obvious and can be replicated through multiple methods, yet this has not stopped them from trying to sue anyone that threatens their sales.
Moving forward Zhizhen is asking the courts to ban the sale of infringing products in China until the suit is settled. Apple is going to appeal the decision made by the Beijing court and continues to claim their innocence in this matter. It is too bad that their arguments in the US case against Samsung (and in other cases) cannot be used here. It would be interesting to see how Apple would try to refute those statements now. We will be keeping an eye on this one to see how things turn out, we wonder if there will be a visit from Tim Cook to China in the near future.
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