The Chinese company Shanghai Zhizhen has sued Apple in China for patent infringement. Shanghai Zhizhen claims that Apple is infringing a voice assistant patent of the Chinese company and wants 1.2 billion euros in damages and a sales ban.
The Chinese company, also known as Xiao-i, says it filed for a patent for a voice assistant in 2004, according to Reuters. According to Reuters in China, this patent was granted to the company in 2009. The Wall Street Journal says the company claims the patent describes a similar technical design to Siri.
Xiao-i is claiming damages amounting to 1.2 billion euros and wants Apple to stop producing and selling products that infringe the patent. Should the Chinese company win the lawsuit, Apple will no longer be able to offer many of its products in China. The country is an important market for Apple. The American company says in a response that it is “disappointed” that Xiao-i has started another lawsuit and that Siri is not infringing their patents.
It is not the first time that the two companies have met in the Chinese courtroom. Xiao-i sued Apple eight years ago for the same patent infringement. Last June, the highest court in China declared that the Xiao-i patent was valid. According to the WSJ, the Chinese court could call for a conditional sale freeze on Apple products until a decision is reached. At the same time, the newspaper says the chance of this is small, because such sales restrictions must meet strict conditions.