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Chinese company sues Apple over Siri patent

A Chinese company has filed suit against Apple for infringing on one of its patents via Cupertino's voice-based assistant Siri.

As reported by Marbridge Daily, Zhizhen Network Technology sued Apple and Shanghai-based subsidiary Apple Computer Trading for infringing on a patent that covers "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," dubbed Xiaoi Bot, via Siri.

The patent was filed by Zhizhen on Aug. 13 2004 and approved in 2006.

It might appear that Zhizhen was emboldened by a recent $60 million settlement between Apple and Proview over the use of the iPad name in China, but Marbridge said Zhizhen's case dates back to May.

At that point, Zhizhen asked Apple to solve the patent dispute via mediation, but Apple did not respond, Marbridge said. A suit was then filed on June 21. Zhizhen apparently has not yet asked for any monetary relief, but a company exec told Marbridge that should it prevail or should Apple agree to a deal, the sum will be greater than the $60 million Apple agreed to pay Proview.

In that case, Proview said Apple only had the rights to the iPad name in Taiwan, not mainland China. Apple objected, but eventually agreed to settle.

After the deal was announced, a Chinese company filed a lawsuit against Apple over the use of the name Snow Leopard in China.

Siri was released last year on the iPhone 4S. Apple said at its Worldwide Developer Conference that the technology will run on the iPad this fall with the release of iOS 6.