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Apple patent dispute looks set to block Siri in China

Apple has suffered a blow in its attempts to offer its voice recognition software Siri in China, after failing to get a Chinese company's patent ruled invalid

Zhizhen Network Technology has asked to block Apple from selling products with Siri installed, claiming that it infringes its rights.

Read more: Microsoft reveals Cortana, Windows Phone's answer to Siri

Apple has stated that it will appeal the decision to the Beijing Higher People's Court.

"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."

Zhizhen's own voice-controlled platform, Xiao i Robot, was launched in 2003 as a text-based chatbot that ran on other instant messaging services.

The company has also developed voice-activated software for smart TVs, smartphones and cars.

Apple launched a Mandarin version of Siri in 2012 before Zhizhen accused the company of intellectual property infringement in June of that year.

Zhizhen had filed for a patent for the underlying technology, which was granted in 2006.

Read more: Judge: Samsung 'infringed' Apple patent

Apple claims that Siri uses a different process to power its voice-recognition and is built on fundamentally different technology.

In an interview with the Xinhua news agency, the China Mobile Internet Industry Alliance stated that Apple was unlikely to pull its products from the Chinese market, but may have to seek a financial settlement in order to resolve the case.