A Taiwanese university has filed a lawsuit (View Below) claiming that Apple’s popular personal assistant program, Siri infringes on several of their copyrights. Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University has not said how much it will seek in damages, but it is also seeking a permanent injunction against Apple along with the cost and damages.
“As a result of Apple’s infringement … NCKU has suffered monetary damages in an amount not yet determined, and will continue to suffer damages in the future unless Apple’s infringing activities are enjoined by this court,” NCKU argued.
In an interview with Reuters, the legal manager for National Cheng Kung University stated that the suit was brought in a Texas court “because it processes faster and its rulings are usually in favor of patent owners and the compensations are usually higher.”
The school claims that it filed a patent for speech-data matching software in 2005 (it received in 2010) and one for speech recognition in 2002 (it received in 2007). The NCKU is seeking a block on all Apple products that use Siri. This currently only applies to the iPhone 4s, but Siri functions are expected to spread to Apple’s iPad and the new iPhone 5 by the end of the year. Damages will include a fee for every Siri equipped device sold and restitution for lawyer’s fees. They have not set an estimate on what the overall damages will be.
Apple bought the Siri platform in 2010, the Siri company was founded in 2007.
Earlier in July 2012, a Shanghai-based company called Zhizhen Network Technology also sued Apple for copyright infringement involving Siri. The suit claims Siri copies a “type of instant messaging chat bot system” called Xiaoi Bot.
Siri is also under fire for allegations of false advertising. A class-action suit was filed against the company earlier this year relating to the commercials Apple produced marketing Siri on the iPhone4S. The suit claims that advertisements that show the speed and accuracy of the program are “fundamentally and designedly false and misleading.”
The plaintiff in the advertising suit, Frank M. Fazio, claims that the advertising was deceiving and convinced him to buy the iPhone 4S over the cheaper iPhone 4. In recent advertisements, Apple has issued disclaimers stating that the Siri sequences are shortened for advertising purposes.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, marketing professor suggests the suit may have merit.
“The claims have to be substantiated in a reasonable laboratory environment and in field tests,” he said. “But what really matters is if the average consumer understands how the product will work.”
Legal troubles from Asia have caused Apple considerable headaches over the past year. Earlier in July 2012, Apple paid $60 million to Proview Technology to end the legal dispute to the iPad trademark in China that postponed the Chinese launce of the iPad 3.
Apple Sued Over Siri
Apple is being sued over the iPhone’s personal voice assistant, called Siri.