A CHINESE technology firm has filed a legal challenge accusing US giant Apple of infringing its patented voice recognition software with its Siri function on the iPhone, the company said yesterday.

The move comes days after Apple paid US$60 million to end a dispute over who could use the iPad name in China.

Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co Ltd patented its Xiao i Robot software in 2004, while Apple's Siri, which made its debut with the iPhone 4S last year, was first developed in 2007. The Chinese company's version operates in a similar way to Apple's personal assistant.

Si Weijiang, a lawyer acting for the Shanghai-based firm, said it had tried to contact Apple two months ago over the alleged infringement but received no response.

"We filed the lawsuit in late June to the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court," Si said. "The case is at the court-mediated stage."

"We mainly ask Apple to stop infringing on our patent and cover the court costs, but once the court confirms Apple has infringed on our patent, we will propose compensation," he added.

The company's chairman, Yuan Hui, told the Apple Daily newspaper that the firm had 100 million users in China.

"People feel that China has no innovation, that companies here just copy. But in fact, we are leaders in our field, and have created our own innovation," Yuan said.

It added that Apple was also facing legal action from another Chinese company for allegedly infringing its "Snow Leopard" trademark.

The High Court of the southern province of Guangdong said on Monday that Apple had paid US$60 million to settle a legal battle with Chinese computer maker Shenzhen Proview Technology over the iPad name.

Attached file(s)

http://www.qiaolab.com/images/120/Siri_Apple_china.jpg

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