For apple, if it loses the lawsuit, it will not only face up to 10 billion infringement compensation, but also stop using the Siri function in China due to patent infringement.
The dispute between the two sides began eight years ago, and the Chinese AI company has been waiting for four years to file a new case.
(Siri function of Apple)
On August 3, xiaoi robot (Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co., Ltd., hereinafter referred to as Zhizhen company) announced that it had filed a lawsuit with the court to require apple to stop the infringement of Siri (Intelligent Assistant) patent, including but not limited to, requiring apple to stop manufacturing, using, selling, promising to sell and import products that infringe relevant patent rights And claim 10 billion yuan.
On August 10, the observer network learned from Zhizhen company that the Shanghai Higher Peoples court had officially accepted the case on that day.
According to the national enterprise credit information publicity system, Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology Co., Ltd. was established in August 2009, and its legal representative is Yuan Hui. Its business scope includes technology development and technical services in the field of network technology and information technology.
In August 2004, Shanghai yingsi Software Technology Co., Ltd. and Yuan Hui filed a patent application for a chat robot system (application No.: zl200410053749.9) in August 2004 and obtained the patent authorization in July 2009. In October 2015, the patentee was changed to Zhizhen company.
After verification by the observer network, the patent information in cnipa system is consistent with that of Zhizhen company.
Zhizhen said that a chat robot system is one of the basic patents of Chinas human-computer interaction intelligent robot. It has completely independent intellectual property rights. It can command the robot to complete tasks in formatted language and complete chat dialogue in natural language.
It is reported that the patent also provides technical support for various intelligent chat functions of China Mobile, China Telecom, QQ, microblog and other software.
(products with patented technology involved in the case launched by Zhizhen company)
The other protagonist in the dispute is Siri.
On December 6, 2011, Apple launched Siri, the intelligent personal assistant service, on its iPhone 4S mobile phone for the first time, and then carried Siri in iPhone 5, ipad3, ipad4, ipadmi, itouch4 and other products.
In terms of time, a chat robot system was patented before Apple acquired Siri and loaded it with smart devices.
Zhizhen discovered Siri eight years ago and filed a patent infringement lawsuit in June 2012.
First application is the principle of patent authorization in China, so the key point of this case is whether Siri is within the range of Zhizhen patent.
On August 1, 2013, at the second hearing of the case, apple admitted that the US patent (12 / 987982) it applied for was related to Siri.
According to the judicial opinion of Shanghai Pudong intellectual property judicial appraisal center, the technical scheme falls into the scope of patent protection of a chat robot system (zl200410053749.9).
Apples self-recognition, together with the opinion of the judicial expert opinion, has made the balance of victory gradually beckon to Zhizhen company.
But who knows, this obvious sign of victory is only an episode in the eight years of friendship and hatred between the two sides.
Faced with the possible risk of failure, apple did something.
Apple opens up the second battlefield and opens the prelude to eight years of entanglement
Facing patent infringement litigation, apple generally has three choices.
Second, out of court settlement, with a sum of money acceptable to the other party to solve the problem, so that the other party withdraws the lawsuit. For example, in 2009, Proview sued apple for trademark infringement of iPad. The case ended in a settlement between the two parties, and apple paid Proview $60 million.
The third is to take the bottom line. Since Zhizhens prosecution is difficult to deal with, as long as the other party is unable to sue, it will naturally win without a fight.
Apple finally chose the third way and applied to the national patent reexamination board to declare Zhizhens patent invalid.
The reason is that the relevant judicial interpretation stipulates that if the patent right in dispute in a patent infringement case is declared invalid, the case will be rejected by the court.
In November 2012, apple claimed to the patent reexamination member of the State Intellectual Property Office that the patent of a chat robot system of Zhang Zhizhen was invalid.
In September 2013, the Patent Reexamination Board decided to keep the patent right of Zhizhen company valid, which was the first victory won by Zhizhen company.
(photos provided by interviewees)
However, Zhizhen company, which failed to achieve three wins in a row, finally lost the advantage of positive battlefield.
In July 2014, apple filed an appeal and continued to request to declare the patent right of Zhizhen company invalid. After hearing, the manager of the court of second instance supported the appeal, revoking the decision of the first instance and determining the validity of Zhizhens patent, and asked the Patent Reexamination Board to make a new decision on the request for invalidation.
Therefore, the patent infringement lawsuit filed by Zhizhen company was rejected by the court, and apple won without a fight.
This ending also let many netizens regard Zhizhen company as patent hooligan and China bumping monster.
(the judgment of the second trial denies the patent right of Zhizhen company
The Supreme Peoples court brought the case for trial and changed the judgment, and the eight years saw saw a significant turning point
The judgment of the court of second instance did not put an end to the dispute between the two parties.
Even though it bears the reputation of public opinion, Zhizhen company still does not give up, but repeatedly applies to the Supreme Peoples court for retrial.
In December 2016, the Supreme Peoples court decided to file the case and suspend the execution of the original judgment.
In June 2020, that is, three and a half years later, the Supreme Peoples court rescinded the judgment of the second instance and maintained the judgment of the first instance, that is to change the judgment to determine that the patent of Zhizhen company is valid.
After many years, Zhizhen companys patent right was finally restored, and got the opportunity to fight again with apple and get rid of the reputation of China bumping monster.
Yuan Hui, founder, chairman and CEO of Zhizhen company, said, this is a great victory for Chinese enterprises to win patent rights in the face of American giants. Xiaoi robot has fought for eight years to protect intellectual property rights, and has finally proved the strength of Chinese companies.
(photos provided by respondents of the Supreme Courts decision to restore the validity of Zhizhen companys patent rights)
Shortly after that, Zhizhen filed a patent infringement lawsuit for the second time, demanding that Apple stop the infringement and compensate 10 billion yuan of losses.
In response, apple said, we are disappointed that little I has filed another lawsuit. The independent appraiser, certified by the Supreme Peoples court, has also concluded that Apple has not infringed on the technology of xiaoi robot.
We are disappointed with Apples disappointment. According to the law, what is the legal basis of the lawsuit against the companys attorney Ding Zhichen
As for Apples reference to the so-called independent appraisal body certified by the Supreme Peoples Court of the peoples Republic of China, Apple has neither disclosed which independent identification body it is nor the text of the conclusion. Its hard to tell the truth from the false.
(publicity picture of xiaoi robot provided by interviewees)
Zhizhen company claims 10 billion yuan. Is it a patent hooligan in the eyes of netizens?
After the announcement of Zhizhen companys lawsuit to apple, some netizens expressed their perplexity and thought that the behavior of claiming 10 billion yuan was suspected of touching porcelain and rubbing heat.
In this regard, Zhizhen company said to the observer that netizens had this idea mainly because they did not understand the history and technical application of xiaoi robot.
Soon after apple used Siri, we filed our first infringement lawsuit. The first lawsuit was filed eight years ago. In terms of time line, patents come first and apple uses them later. At present, the validity of this patent right of xiaoi robot has been confirmed, which needs to be protected according to law. Under this premise, we will protect Apples rights in accordance with the law.
As for the why claim 10 billion yuan that netizens generally questioned, Zhizhen said that Apples infringement has lasted for more than eight years, causing heavy losses to its own side. The claim of 10 billion yuan is only temporary, and the actual loss is far greater than the amount of claim in this lawsuit.
Earlier, Luca Maestri, Apples chief financial officer, said on a earnings call that Apples Greater China sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2020 (March 29 to June 27) were about $9.3 billion.
For ordinary people, 10 billion compensation is astronomical, but for apple, it is less than one sixth of its sales in China in a quarter.
(Luca mestrei, Apples chief financial officer)
In addition, China judicial documents website also showed that only 17 public judgment documents involving Zhiyi company were involved, of which only one was a previous patent dispute with apple, and the remaining 16 were not related to patent disputes.
The 8-year dispute with apple is the only patent infringement case ever filed by Zhiyi company.
For apple, there are 63 documents that only belong to patent ownership and infringement disputes.
Which company is entangled in patent disputes is an obvious answer.
(after searching Zhizhen company on China judicial documents website, there are 17 judicial documents involved)
At the same time, according to the measures for payment of litigation costs formulated by the State Council, if the property involved in a civil case is 10 billion yuan, the case acceptance fee is about 50 million yuan, and the execution cost after winning the lawsuit is about 10 million yuan. According to the industrial and commercial information, the registered capital of Zhizhen company is about 22 million.
For the cost of litigation, which is more than twice the registered capital, Zhizhen said, we will fulfill our obligations according to law.
If successful, will Siri be discontinued in China? Where will the iPhone go?