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China Iphone Apple

Chinese Company Sues Apple Over Siri 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the ours-first dept.
judgecorp writes "Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology is suing Apple in China, claiming Siri infringes its voice technology patent. Zhizhen claims to have 100 million users for its Xiao iRobot software which responds to voice questions and commands. From the article: 'The move came only days after Apple Inc paid $60 million to Proview Technology (Shenzhen) to end a protracted legal dispute over the iPad trademark in China. Zhizhen's patent covers "a type of instant messaging chat robot system", according to the database of the country's State Intellectual Property Office. It was filed on Aug 13, 2004, and got approved on Feb 15, 2006. '"
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Chinese Company Sues Apple Over Siri

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimbleNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:39AM (#40590831)
    Wait, a CHINESE company is worried about intellectual property infringement? Did I miss the memo?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:40AM (#40590855)

      They have their cake, now they'd just like to eat it.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:49AM (#40590975)

        but an hour later, they'll just want even more!

        seriously, though, this could not have happened to a 'better' company. hope apple has a major headache from this. I'd buy a ticket to the event if one is ever sold.

        yes, the more evil you are, the more we cheer as you get burned by the very weapons you use to attack others.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          but an hour later, they'll just want even more!

          seriously, though, this could not have happened to a 'better' company. hope apple has a major headache from this. I'd buy a ticket to the event if one is ever sold.

          yes, the more evil you are, the more we cheer as you get burned by the very weapons you use to attack others.

          Karma is as karma does. Apple have indeed earned this, but don't be too surprised if it works out in Apple's favor. Voice recognition and commands could easily have considerable Prior Art to lean on, though winning any suit in this case could dilute Apple's patent portfolio, too.

          I have the following patents:Answers: #8,704,338,654
          Answers which require thought: #8,704,338,655
          Answers which are correct: #8,704,338,656
          Dumb silence: #8,704,338,657

      • by evilRhino (638506)
        This just in: there are millions of people in China, each with their own hope, dreams, and understanding of intellectual property rights.
        • This just in: there are billions of people in China, each with their own hope, dreams, and understanding of intellectual property rights.

          FTFY

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            CIA world factbook says 1.3 billion. That's not "billions".

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:41AM (#40590863)
      Actually I think china is pretty aggressive in protecting its industries from foreign patent infringement it just isn't so aggressive in protecting western countries from infringement.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimbleNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:46AM (#40590931)
        That is probably true - I deal with a number of manufacturers from China on a daily basis and none of them are really concerned about cloning a competitor's product for us if we desire it. I just found it funny is all.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

          by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:15AM (#40591353)
          More to the point. The company in question many times manufactures product for said US competitor and simply continue to manufacture them off hours sans the logo.
          • this may be too obvious, but; why not force them to work 7x24? that way there *is* no time-off and no way to make manufacturing runs sans logo. keep the factory going 24x7 and rotate even more workers thru, giving them normal working shifts, each. reduced hours, even; just keep the factory always making your goods and shipping its output directly to you via your carriers. when you are done, come pick up the tools and destroy them or bring them back with you.

            too obvious?

        • That is probably true - I deal with a number of manufacturers from China on a daily basis and none of them are really concerned about cloning a competitor's product for us if we desire it. I just found it funny is all.

          Well then, probably serves you right if you find out that they're cloning your product as well...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You could say the same about the US. Just ask Samsung.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Monday July 09, 2012 @10:16AM (#40592089) Homepage

        What you have to remember with China is it is not a corporation suing Apple but in effect the government suing Apple.

        Companies in China belong to China – You can't trade in China, you trade with China. You can't go to a company wanting to trade, you have to deal with a government official asking you want to trade with China.

        Most people who run these large companies rise through local and central governments, many becoming government officials. They have huge influence on all parts of China, think of it like a Masonic society – A magic handshake with the judge, you know the case will be favourable to you winning.

        • What you have to remember with China is it is not a corporation suing Apple but in effect the government suing Apple.

          Remember how Japan used to be called Japan Inc? China Incorporated sounds more apt given the tigher integration between government and business, including the military [wikipedia.org].

        • by ianare (1132971)

          You're quite right of course, but the same could be said for some European companies.

          For example, SNCF sued a food stall lady [tacticalip.com] over her use of the term "Orient Express".

          SNCF is wholly-owned by the French governement.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday July 09, 2012 @10:31AM (#40592271)

        Why should they be? The USA wasn't aggressive in protecting British IP holders from infringement back in the 17-1800s, in fact they didn't enforce that at all, and the USA made a bunch of money as a result.

        What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

        • by poity (465672)

          But doesn't hypocrisy depend on contradiction at the same time? In your example, the American contradiction is separated by 200-300 years (not to mention great differences in federal authority between US of 1700's and US of today), whereas the Chinese contradiction is simultaneous in occurrence (and occurring under the same government). So the former doesn't quite fit the definition, while the latter is a perfect fit.

          • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday July 09, 2012 @11:52AM (#40593297)

            Perhaps, but it is a great example of history repeating itself. Back in the 1700s, Britain was the major world power, and made a lot of money with IP laws and demanded that everyone else respect them, and instead America ignored them and made cheaper copies and made a fortune at it; before long, Britain was a has-been and America was the major power.

            Now, a couple hundred years later, history is repeating itself. America, which got rich partially by ignoring IP laws and making cheaper copies of stuff, is bitching and whining that others are copying their stuff and demanding their IP laws be enforced worldwide, while China ignores them and makes cheaper copies of stuff and is making a fortune doing it.

            I guess it just shows how little people learn from history.

            • by poity (465672)

              Doesn't it actually show how MUCH people learn from history when you've outlined the way countries have followed the beaten path?

            • by orlanz (882574)

              I think the modern day equivalents of "Export Tea leaves to Britain, buy back, and pay taxes on tea" and "Have coastal territories pay taxes on salt" is Design and Software patents.

            • I guess it just shows how little people learn from history.

              I would say a lot -- i.e. learning doing the same trick to leapfrog somebody else.

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                Well in that case, I guess it says a lot about the Chinese's ability to learn from history, and the Americans' inability to do so.

            • by drkstr1 (2072368)
              And the moral of the story; IP inhibits progress.
              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                I'm not so sure about that. Even America's Founders thought IP was important, and enshrined it in the Constitution. However, they also had an important phrase included there: "a limited time", which the first Copyright Act set to 14 years (plus an optional 14 year extension), back in a time when electronic communications did not exist and everything was much slower. There were a lot of important inventions in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the US Patent Office was utilized a lot here; I t

        • by tibman (623933)

          My history is sketch but didn't the British have very tight controls on colonial trade? As in, they could only trade with GB unless it was approved by an official. Also, all trade out of the Americas could only be in raw materials, no constructed goods. Trade into America was in high end goods. This way the British commanded high prices for their goods and low prices for what they bought.

          That kind of relationship is probably why there was ip infringement. But i don't remember the colonies exporting cou

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Yes, I'm talking about post-Revolutionary War; during the late 1700s and 1800s, the Americans profited handsomely on "pirated" materials. They also did a lot of industrial espionage; I can't remember the device now, but one particularly famous case was for some machine whose design was stolen and brought to America, where they made copies.

            But yes, before the War, the British practiced mercantilism [wikipedia.org] which basically bled colonies of their raw material resources and enriched the mother country at the expense o

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Actually I think china is pretty aggressive in protecting its industries from foreign patent infringement it just isn't so aggressive in protecting western countries from infringement.

        Actually, most countries are like that. I'm fairly certain it's the same in the US as well. Infringe on a foreign country's copyright/patent/whatever? No big deal. But infringe on OUR copyright/patent/whatever? Very Big Deal(tm).

        Plenty of pirated video suppliers operating commercially in the US that aren't prosecuted because t

    • by kyrio (1091003)
      You want to do business on my land? Pay up.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s.petry (762400) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:17AM (#40591373)

        HEY, LOOK AT THOSE CHINESE BUSINESSES AND LOOK HOW BAD THEY ARE! Meanwhile US companies hire illegal workers, sue everyone and everything, lie to regulators, blackmail anyone trying to prosecute them or investigate them, pay media to outright lie to US citizens, and steal from US citizens.

        Until we clean up things at home why is anyone in the US talking about China? Wholly crap man, you do realize that banks are still foreclosing on houses where owners don't even have mortgages right? You do realize that things like Honeywell vs. Nest are still happening right? You do realize that Merck was found falsifying reports and documents to the FDA which caused millions of people to get sick and in some cases die just to make pharmaceutical companies lots of money right? Hell, the DOJ illegally sold guns to Drug cartels in Mexico and nobody even talks about it let alone has been prosecuted or punished.

        Don't mistake what I say for saying China is magically better than the US. What I'm saying is that we are so fucked up right now we have no right to bitch about anyone else.

        • by poity (465672)

          30% of Slashdotters are from outside the US, most of them from Europe. Europe isn't entirely free of problems, so does that mean they should quit criticizing the US? I think not, but it seems you think they should. Am I understanding you correctly?

          • 30% of Slashdotters are from outside the US, most of them from Europe.

            Is this confirmed statistics?

          • by s.petry (762400)

            You understand very correctly, but I guess it could be subjective. IP law in the US is horrid, unfair, costs society and our economy tremendous amounts of money. The EU has had a much better track record with IP, so I guess you could complain about the US's IP policies and laws. With that said, if your Government was full of corruption, you were fighting 2 legal wars and several illegal wars, News was reclassified as "Entertainment" (Thank you for that Supreme Court ruling by the way), and I could go on

          • Actually I don't think you do understand correctly. The poster is saying that the US has lots of things to be ashamed of so those in the US shouldn't be denigrating Chinese business practice as it comes across as hypocritical.

            Just for the record, from the comments I have read a fair amount of slashdotters are Aussie. But that may just be because they come out of the woodwork when you talk about our great southern land in some way.

            • by poity (465672)

              Indeed the US does have many things to be ashamed of, but should people like you and me, citizens who are not intimately involved with political or corporate organizations, limit the scope of our criticism just because we are within the same borders as corrupt entities? For instance would you tell a Frenchman to shut up about US involvement in Iraq because of France's involvement in Libya?

              • by s.petry (762400)

                Pretty much, yeah you should not be telling a Frenchman anything in my opinion and here is why: You and I may not be politicians or mega billionaires, but how do you begin to fix problems with our own Government? Learn what our problems are, educate people to the problems, vote, and petition and force change. If we do nothing, or express apathy what will change? It's a matter of where we, as citizens, need to spend our energy or things can only get worse.

                I read about new corruption every day, some datin

            • but that may just be because they come out of the woodwork when you talk about our great southern land in some way.

              I learned an internet lesson once in the ingame chat of a video game. Do NOT talk about cars with Aussies. You will unintentionally and severely insult them somehow. It is bound to happen. Fun for a while, but I eventually got tired of googling the insults that I didn't understand.

              What kicked the whole thing off was me saying that the new Camaro was basically a Vauxhall. Kaboom. "Only (string of expletives removed) Pommies call it a Vauxhall". I didn't know what pommie meant until that day, I am American..

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            I think Europeans have a lot more leeway to criticize Americans than Americans have room to criticize Chinese.

            Europe is having some problems, true, but they seem to mainly be due to trying to have a monetary union without having a full political union, which sounded like a good idea at first but doesn't seem to be working out too well in practice unfortunately because different countries want to manage their money differently (some are very frugal, some like to spend it like a drunken sailor and then make u

            • by poity (465672)

              What about blatant corruption in Eastern EU nations? Have Western EU nations done enough to try to solve this problem? What about the corruption in the energy politics of Europe, in its dealings with Gazprom, African dictatorships, and the Middle East?

              Do you think Europeans should shut up about the US when these problems still exist? I think we, as people who are outsiders to these organizations and corporations, should be free to criticize them all. However, it seems many in this thread think that just bec

        • Wholly crap

          Nah. According to Sturgeon it's only about 90%.

    • by Jerom (96338)

      The Chinese sharks smelled bl$$d with the whole "ipad" name debacle...

      • by tqk (413719)

        The Chinese sharks smelled bl$$d with the whole "ipad" name debacle...

        That's exactly what I was thinking. "Hey, they fell for that. We got a mark! What else have we got that we can shake 'em down for?" Now they're pouring over everything in their patent and copyright portfolio to see what else applies. I wonder if they have rounded corners in there.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tsa (15680) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:53AM (#40591815) Homepage

      They're like slashdotters: copying to their heart's delight but when their own copyright is abused they cry foul.

  • ...how whatever authority that is perpetuating software patents continues to ignore the mountain of empirical evidence showing such patents are a very bad idea.

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:42AM (#40590887)

    Zhizhen claims to have 100 million users for its Xiao iRobot software which responds to voice questions and commands.

    Apple counter sues for the use of the letter i.

  • yesterday some Chinese company f**d apple over the name IPad. And now this company is screwing apple over siri. Its all Apple's bad karma because the other side apple is screwing Samsung, and others...
    • No company - not even Microsoft - is a more shameless patent troll than Apple. Have you forgotten about Apple's harassment lawsuit against HTC?

      Maybe turnabout is fair play?

      • by Quila (201335) on Monday July 09, 2012 @10:45AM (#40592441)

        Microsoft is getting $5 for every Android phone from HTC, Motorola, and probably the rest because Microsoft threatened to sue over patents.

        • by scot4875 (542869)

          Microsoft negotiates license fees. Apple looks for injunctions banning sales. There's a world of difference between the two. Manufacturers probably *would* just cough up cash and license these patents from Apple just to save the court costs if Apple would allow them to pursue that option.

          --Jeremy

          • by Quila (201335)

            Microsoft negotiates license fees.

            Had they not accepted the graciously-offered licenseing fees, Microsoft would have sued and a request for an injunction would have been one of the first filings.

            Manufacturers probably *would* just cough up cash and license these patents from Apple just to save the court costs if Apple would allow them to pursue that option.

            That's a Steve Jobs thing. I expect Apple to start settling for minor patent infringements. However, in cases of blatant coattail riding, I expect the h

        • by andydread (758754)
          Motorola claims they are not paying Microsoft a red cent for any crap software patents such as "rendering text before images". MS filed suit and Moto hit back with H.264 patents looking to get X-Box banned in the USA and possibly all versions of Windows with h.264 embedded.
  • by chowdahhead (1618447) on Monday July 09, 2012 @08:58AM (#40591099)
    Live by the sword, die by the sword.
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:46AM (#40591737) Homepage

      Heh, they wished for it, they got it.

      US companies are lobbying like demons to have China enforce their "intellectual property" on the assumption that the little yellow devils are too lazy and dumb to ever invent anything of their own.

      A billion smart, hungry people and an education system that doesn't pander to the lower common denominator is about to show them how arrogant and short sighted that is.

      You want to take them on, patents trolls? They can write three patents to your one, and for a quarter of the price.

      I'd rub their noses in it some more, but the sad part is that it just means that everything is going to cost us more, and the only people who will benefit will be Chinese lawyers.

      • Nah, this is good. As soon as someone other than the US is getting the most benefit from patent and copyright, you just watch the US agitate for a change....

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        not at all, those Chinese guys will waste their time inventing complicated stuff that works. Don't they know the true solution is to patent the rectangle, one-clicking, or slide-to-unlock and go straight to court?

        • Don't worry, they know it better. They have enough people to push patents for both complex stuff that do usefull things and the rectangle.

  • by Infiniti2000 (1720222) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:50AM (#40591779)

    It was filed on Aug 13, 2004, and got approved on Feb 15, 2006.

    I think this is the real story here. From the time to file to approval is about 1.5 years. In the U.S., it's 5 to 8 years [inventionstatistics.com]. We cannot hope to compete if these numbers are real, and, apparently, they are.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      I think it's intentionally 5 to 8 years for a patent to be granted in the USA. The clock starts ticking when it's granted. So they can file, hold it for a few years making minor revisions from time to time and then surface for a lawsuit the moment anyone does anything innovative.
  • Thank You China (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ianare (1132971) on Monday July 09, 2012 @09:56AM (#40591845)

    You better believe something will be done about software patents, and IP laws in general, when the Chinese start to heavily sue US companies.

    I mean, when it's US companies bashing those in other countries, software patents are awesome. When the inverse occurs, they are obviously a hinderance to progress.

    • Re:Thank You China (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Monday July 09, 2012 @10:26AM (#40592219)

      Worse that a hinderance. They are an affront to the free world and the democratic way of life.

      Which is why when the US was founded they ignored European patents and copied like fucking crazy. It was only when they started having ideas of their own worth protecting they thought different.

  • by Tom (822)

    China is famous for copying everything - to their advantage, often driving out the original competitors from whom they copied through lower prices.

    Now they've started copying the US patent system. Kiss your ass goodbye.

  • by Mhrmnhrm (263196) on Monday July 09, 2012 @11:44AM (#40593203)

    Apple has at least 20 years of prior art to fall back on here. While it didn't always work exceedingly well, I clearly remember telling the Mac in my high school library's material office (where us helper rats did things like laminate posters for teachers) things like "Marie, run Myst," and a minute later, hearing the opening theme play.

  • Robert Heinlein's character "Mike" in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" describes pretty elaborately everything Siri or the Xiao iRobot do. But back in 1966. Responses based on partial data input, voice recognition, even learning humor in terms of funny and not funny. Not to mention being part of a global communications network. Most of the patents I see in the lawsuits should've been denied for not being novel, being roughly half a century late in their invention.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday July 09, 2012 @12:09PM (#40593583)

    Who even cares at this point? There's eight hundred trillion of these lawsuits filed every day. Sitting there caring or rooting for or hating on one side or the other is exactly the distraction the sociopaths in charge want.

  • Mayans Sue Egyptians (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ambidextroustech (2597091) on Monday July 09, 2012 @12:11PM (#40593609)

    Honestly, how did the Mayans make pyramids much like Egyptians? Some say Ancient Aliens, but perhaps there is a very real, extremely subtle connection between peoples on different continents?

    And we wonder why it's so bad to work with the Chinese? China Venture Is Good for GE but Is It Good for U.S.? [wsj.com]

    I remember some big executive saying that "these are our patents. We own them" and I sat listening and said to myself, the Chinese are making it? Say goodbye to your patents; it's theirs now.

  • by strikethree (811449) on Monday July 09, 2012 @12:38PM (#40594055) Journal

    [Nelson] Ha Ha [/Nelson]

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  • by andydread (758754) on Monday July 09, 2012 @01:00PM (#40594303)
    Maybe its time for Apple to stop slavishly copying others IP and claiming it as their own without permission? We know how shameless [youtube.com] they are about their actions.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      apple is bad, but china doesnt even pretend to give a shit about other peoples IP. I personally hope they keep this up though, pissing off enough companies to finally storm in and nail everyone in china making knock off crap, and using trademarked logos on everything they have no right to.

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