There is something that is no less than deliciously ironic when a Chinese company sues an American firm over patent violations. I’ve walked down the streets of many a Chinese city only to find myself amazed at what is available over there. I own seven Rolexes, and a Georgio Armoni suit, I even bought my girlfriend a beautiful Coach bag that had to be real because the label clearly stated that on the label that it was “Made in Itely.”
One of my favorite Shanghai evenings out drinking with my good Friend Roland Djarles involved the two of us setting out towards the Jing An district from People’s Park down the famed Nanjing Xi Lu (Nanjing Road West). Roland had come to my house to pick me up where we had a few beers. It was difficult to miss the fact that he was wearing shoes to which he had attached a number of DVDs. Roland was a strange one so I didn’t bother asking why.
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As we strolled down Nanjing Xi Lu, we ran into our first group of knock-off hawkers, “You want “watchbag, DVDShoes?” he asked. Knowing they have little time these hawkers, who don’t speak English minus a few words often combine them. Roland reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bag, opened it and pulled two watches from it before saying, “I have watch bag.” He then pointed downwards and said, “And these are the best DVD shoes in Shanghai.” While rolling on the sidewalk with laughter I couldn’t help but think, “Who says Germans have no sense of humor?”
Yesterday, in that same city of Shanghai, pretrial proceedings between Zhi Zhen Network Technology and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) began. The former is claiming that Siri is infringing upon their Xiao I Robot, a product that was granted two patents in 2006, filings were made in 2004. That’s actually not that tough to believe given that Siri often acts as though I’m speaking to her in broken Mandarin given her propensity towards mishearing me.
“The company will ask Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s infringement is confirmed,” said Si Weijiang, a Zhi Zhen lawyer. “We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future.”
God we live in a funny world. What’s next? The U.S Department of Defense demanding money from the People’s Army for stealing, well everything in our arsenal, through espionage and reverse engineering? I’m waiting for that one.