July 30, 2012
Apple Faces Lawsuit Over Siri
By Julie Griffin
Apple’s iPhone (News - Alert) app, Siri, is its proudest feature of the iPhone 4S. Ads featuring stars like Zooey Deschanel and Samuel Jackson present the voice recognition app as an alternative to a butler or a personal assistant. The ads demonstrate how Siri answers questions about the weather, takeout service and more. But now Siri must answer a question in court: Who owns Siri’s voice recognition technology?
Recent reports indicate that a Taiwanese University has filed a patent infringement suit against Apple (News - Alert), alleging that Siri’s voice recognition technology is the intellectual property of National Cheng Kung University.
When asked why they chose to file the lawsuit in Texas, Yama Cheng, National Chench Kung’s legal official states, “We filed that lawsuit in the Texas court because it processes faster and its rulings are usually in favor of patent owners and the compensations are usually higher.”
Although the dollar amount that the university is seeking in compensation is not yet known, sources believe that the figure will be based on the amount of devices with Siri Apple has sold in the U.S. market.
The university is also investigating whether Google and Microsoft’s (News - Alert) voice recognition apps for their smartphones used their patented technology as well.
In addition to its legal battles in the U.S., Apple is currently facing two lawsuits in China – and one of the lawsuits is also over Siri’s technology. A company called Zhi Zhen Internet Technology has filed a lawsuit against Apple in China over intellectual property violations involving Siri’s voice recognition system.
Jiangsu Xueboa filed the other lawsuit against Apple. Jiangsu Xueboa claims that Apple has unlawfully used the name Snow Leopard, a trademark that belongs to them. This lawsuit is the second lawsuit Apple has been involved in this summer over trademark violations in China.
Earlier this month, Apple was featured in a high-profile case in China after Proview Technologies sued Apple for using the iPad trademark without legal permission. The suit was settled for $60 million.
Want to learn more about patents in the telecom industry? Then be sure to attend Synopsis Under IP/Patents Telecom Sourcing Conference (SUITS), collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. The SUITS Conference is launched to advance the legal knowledge of innovators of telecommunications including developers, implementers, licenses, licensors, end users, carriers and enterprise patents. Learn how to be aware and prepare to protect your most valuable assets, individual and company patents and intellectual property stored in the Patent Eco System or being held for security. For more information on registering for the SUITS Conference, click here.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman