Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), for all of its attempts at goodwill with the Chinese people and the media, just can’t seem to catch a break in at least the public perception world. Just as Apple was showing some progress in the Chinese market with its iPhone – even before the much-ballyhooed low-cost iPhone hits store shelves there, the one designed for emerging markets like China – and had seemed to weather a state-run media onslaught of negative press a few months back.
But now, it seems that the legal system in China is taking its shots at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Apple had been dealing with issues involving its partner, Foxconn, and its labor standards and working conditions at its manufacturing plants, and then there were a series of articles and media pieces lambasting Apple for its customer service policies, its use of remanufactured parts in repairs of iDevices, as well as negative pieces about the quality of the devices in the first place.
After all that, though, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was making some progress in the Chinese marketplace, as its market share grew faster in the past year than the overall Chinese market did. However, the overall success of the iPhone has drawn its share of legal fights from those who seem to want their piece of the pie by clamoring for a patent right involving some functionality of the iPhone.
The latest comes from within China, where a Chinese court this week began hearing initial arguments in an intellectual-property-rights case, where Apple is being sued by Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Co. for infringement of intellectual property rights involving Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant that started appearing on the iPhone in 2011.
Details are sketchy and the Chinese court just heard opening discussions by both parties with no future hearing dates set for the actual trial, but the understanding is that the Siri voice assistant violates Zhizhen’s IP rights involving a chat robot system that is similar to what is being run in Siri. Apple is attempting to make the case that Siri goes beyond the basic chat robot system and takes it to a greatly improved level to where the initial IP right is not even recognizable in the way Siri functions.
Shanghai Zhizhen is accusing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) of the violations in five of its devices, and it asking the court to force Apple to stop making and selling the products that have the infringing functionality.
Is the case legit?