Ahead of next week’s Apple event, which is expected to include the launch of the iPhone 13 lineup, a Chinese AI firm is asking a court to stop the production and sale of the iPhone in China, alleging that Siri infringes upon its patent, South China Morning Post reports.
Apple last year was hit with a $1.4 billion lawsuit from the Chinese AI firm Xiao-i Robot, which claims Apple violated its patent for a virtual assistant similar to Siri. At the time, the firm had asked Apple to cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” all products that “infringe” upon its patent, which would include all devices with Siri.
In the latest escalation of its lawsuit, Xiao-i-Robot has asked a court in Shanghai to force Apple to end the production and sale of the iPhone. The AI firm announced it had applied for the preliminary injunction on its WeChat account just hours before Apple announced its “California Streaming” event for Tuesday, September 14.
Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology, also known as Xiao-i Robot, last Friday applied to the Shanghai Higher People’s Court for a preliminary injunction to ban the manufacture, sale and export of iPhones containing Siri that infringe on its patent, according to the Chinese company’s statement that was posted on its official WeChat account on Tuesday.
Xiao-i Robot chief executive Yuan Hui said in the statement that Apple did not respect its intellectual property. “Apple should immediately stop the infringement, take down and stop selling the related products,” Yuan said.
If the court grants Xiao-i-Robot’s injunction, it could significantly impact Apple’s supply chain. While a ruling is unlikely to directly affect the iPhone 13 launch this month, it may impact future iPhone launches.
Apple, in a statement to South China Morning Post reiterated that Siri does not “contain features included in their patent, which relates to games and instant messaging” and further noted that local certified Chinese appraisers have “concluded that Apple does not infringe Xiao-i-Robot’s technology.”