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China firm sues Apple over Siri assistant

March 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM

SHANGHAI, March 27 (UPI) -- A Chinese company says it is suing Apple Computer, alleging the Siri digital assistant featured in iPhones and iPads violates patents it holds.

Zhi Zhen Network Technology says it was granted a Chinese patent in 2006 for its Xiao i Robot software, Apple Insider reported Wednesday.

Xiao i Robot features voice interactions and is able to answer questions and hold simple conversations in much the say way Apple's Siri does.

Zhi Zhen Network Technology claims its technology -- released in versions for the web, Android, Windows Phone, desktops and Apple's iOS -- has more than 100 million users in China.

Zhi Zhen filed its patent litigation in July 2012, shortly after Apple's Siri became available in China.

Both parties appeared in a Shanghai court Wednesday for a pretrial proceeding.

A full hearing is set for July.

"The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed," Si Weijiang, a Zhi Zhen lawyer, said. "We don't exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future."

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