China is really cracking down on the tech industry. Trouble started in 2012 when Zhizhen Internet Technology sued Apple, claiming Apple’s virtual assistant Siri infringes their speech-recognition patent. On Wednesday, the Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled against Apple, entrenching China’s negative stance towards the foreign tech industry. (RELATED: China Accuses US Of Spying, Starts Banning US Tech Goods)
“Unfortunately, we were not aware of Zhizhen’s patent before we introduced Siri (speech recognition technology) and we do not believe we are using this patent,” a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement.
According to Zhizhen, Siri uses the exact same speech-recognition technology. Apple asked the court to render Zhizhen’s patent as “ineffective,” but the court refused.
“The court did not support the cause of action stated by Apple,” the court said in a statement, according to NDTV Gadgets.
This is not the first time Apple has struggled with Chinese relations over copyright infringement. In 2012, Apple settled an iPad trademark case for $60 million. CNet reports Apple has also fought over Siri with Samsung and a Taiwanese university.
Now, since the patent is upheld by the court, Zhizhen can proceed with a lawsuit against Apple. Apple intends to appeal the ruling in the Beijing Higher People’s Court.
“While a separate court considers this question, we remain open to reasonable discussions with Zhizhen,” the Apple spokeswoman said.