Apple Sues Chinese Government's Patent Office as Battle for Siri Heats up

By Gary Cutlack on at

Apple's widened one of its patent disputes in China to involve the actual government patent office itself, with reports saying it's taking a fight over rights to use the Siri technology to the State Intellectual Property Office.

The dispute stems from an ongoing battle with Zhizhen Network Technology over the rights to Apple's Siri implementation. Zhizhen claims it patented a similar assistant system back in 2004, but Apple says the underlying tech is completely different and asked the local patent office to declare Zhizhen's patent invalid. But the patent office declined, triggering Apple's legal claim against the Chinese governmental office.

It's a bold, perhaps even crazy move from Apple. Tim Cook sees China as one of his company's future growth hotspots and cash cows, so making enemies within a government already a little prickly about China's heavy dependence on Western technology surely can't be a great idea. [AFP via The Register]