Only a few days after Apple settled the grueling “iPad” naming rights case with Proview, another lawsuit has popped up again against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). According to TheNextWeb.com’s Matt Brian, Zhi Zhen Internet Technology has filed a patent lawsuit saying that Apple has illegally used Siri, the voice assistant.
The NASDAQ shed some more light on the situation by releasing details that explained Zhi Zhen Internet Technologies currently has a patent on a similar Chinese version of Siri that is used in the company’s Xiao i services. The Chinese firm claims that they attempted to contact Apple on the matter back in May but never heard a response. A spokesman for the Chinese firm also stated that his company originally applied for the patent in 2004.
Siri was introduced by Apple through its iPhone 4S which came out last October. Originally, it saw a strong welcome but as time went by some people began to question the program. However, it is a neat and unique feature that can help draw more sales as no other smartphones have any service like Siri.
That is why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced last month that they would be integrating Siri in iPhones sold in China. Siri will be able to speak Mandarin and Cantonese which could fire up sales in the country. Unfortunately, we will have to wait now for the lawsuits to settle before we can officially say that Siri is heading to China.
While this could be a considerable setback for Apple, there is another lawsuit that the company was recently hit with. Earlier this week, a Chinese chemical company, Jiangsu Xeubao, filed a lawsuit against Apple saying that the tech company infringed on the patented trademark “Snow Leopard” back in 2000.
Apple is getting hit hard right now by lawsuits and likely they could cost the tech giant a pretty penny. During the last lawsuit with Proview, Apple had to settle the suit for $60 million. These recent two suits could equal that or more which could really give Apple a setback in China.
Over the past decade or so, China has turned into the hottest new consumer market. As consumers gain wealth, they look for ways to spend it. Apple sees this and realizes the profit potential but since China is still technically Communist, it will be more difficult to start selling its products in the country rather than a Capitalist country. On top of that, Apple faces fierce competition from rising threats such as Lenovo. Additionally, they also face competition from their archrivals, Samsung.
The bottom line here is that China has been a difficult market for Apple to get into. The company just settled one suit and got two more this week. While conditions may be difficult now, it will be worth it in the end when Apple is finally integrated in China and reaping the benefits. China is the key to Apple’s future growth.