Apple has failed in its attempt to get a Chinese company’s voice-recognition patent ruled invalid.
The verdict threatens Apple’s ability to offer its voice-controlled virtual assistant, Siri, in the country.
Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology has sought to block Apple from selling products with the app installed, saying it infringed its rights.
Apple will appeal the verdict and had this to say:
“Apple believes deeply in protecting innovation, and we take intellectual property rights very seriously,” said a spokesman.
Apple became aware of this problem in 2012 when they announced the addition of Mandarin and Cantonese to Siri’s list of languages.
Zhizhen noted that it had filed for the intellectual rights to the underlying technology in 2004 and had been granted the patent two years later.
Apple countered that Siri used a different process to power its voice-recognition tech – a court has yet to rule on this claim.
This is a serious problem for Apple. Hopefully, they’ll either prevail in a higher court or negotiate a licensing deal with Zhizhen.