When you're as a big as Apple
, lawsuits are impossible to avoid. After fighting Samsung for years on the design front, Apple's latest scuffle in the courtroom is happening in a country where a huge chunk of its profits are coming from: China. Recently, Apple has been attempting to have a Chinese company's voice-recognition patent ruled invalid, as its validity threatens Apple's ability to let Siri
run free in China.
Zhizhen Network Technology is attempting to block Apple from selling products in China with Siri installed, alleging that by doing so, it's infringing on a patent that it owns. With the verdict ruling the patent as valid, Apple's fight will continue with an appeal to the Beijing Higher People's Court. Per an Apple's spokesperson:
"Apple believes deeply in protecting innovation, and we take intellectual property rights very seriously. Apple created Siri to provide customers with their own personal assistant by using their voice. Unfortunately, we were not aware of Zhizhen's patent before we introduced Siri, and we do not believe we are using this patent. While a separate court considers this question, we remain open to reasonable discussions with Zhizhen."
Whether it's settled in or out of court, the result will no doubt make waves. Apple cannot ignore a nation as large as China, and deactivating Siri there would most certainly hobble its product line.