Chinese Companies Again Using Patents To Punish Foreign Competitors: Apple Sued Over Siri In Shanghai

from the had-to-expect-this dept

For many years, US companies and government officials complained publicly and privately that China just didn’t “respect” patents. They would point to how various Chinese companies were famous for making knockoffs of various products as evidence of this, and they’d put strong diplomatic pressure on China to both “respect” foreign patents more and beef up its own patent system. Of course, for years, we’ve been warning about just how stupid this is. China recognizes that patents are really a protectionist tool, and is using them as such. It has certainly increased its patenting effort… but nearly every single major patent lawsuit in China has been about punishing foreign companies and blocking competition to domestic Chinese companies.

So it should come as little surprise to find out that a company in Shanghai, Zhi Zhen Internet Technology, is now suing Apple, claiming that voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri violates its patents. No one seems to know specifically what’s in the patent, but I do wonder if it matters. Like so many Chinese patent lawsuits this one just seems likely to end up with a foreign competitor being kept out of the market in favor of the domestic version.

And yet… American companies and politicians will still continue to insist that China needs to “strengthen” its patent system, even as Chinese companies and politicians must be laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans are. We’re literally urging them to set up a system that helps Chinese companies block American companies from their market.

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Companies: apple, zhi zhen internet technology

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Comments on “Chinese Companies Again Using Patents To Punish Foreign Competitors: Apple Sued Over Siri In Shanghai”

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31 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

‘Chinese companies and politicians must be laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans are’

and serves them right. the onlt reasons this crap started was because of greed on the part of US companies like Microsoft and the entertainment industries. had they have kept their mouths shut, their noses out, things would have plodded along quite nicely and quite quietly. now they dont like the can of worms they themselves opened. well, here’s news for them. tuff shit!! they wont learn anything from this and will do the same thing again very soon. i am sure China is crapping backwards over this!

Chris-Mouse (profile) says:

Re: So wait...

What percentage of ‘American’ devices are made in Chinese factories and shipped over to the USA?

What happens to all those American companies if Chinese patents mean those devices can no longer be manufactured in China?

How long do you think it would take to rebuild all the manufacturing capability and expertise that got outsourced to China?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 So wait...

None of which is patent worthy. What’s so patent worthy there, icons on a desktop? No, that’s something apple stole. Rounded edges? No, apple stole that too. In fact, most of this technology wasn’t made in the U.S. and the majority of computing technology that was made in the U.S. was made before tech really took patents seriously.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So wait...

“but it is a core issue here.”

No, this is something you entirely made up out of nowhere. U.S. lawyers, patent trolls, law firms, and non-engineers are not nearly as inventive or innovative as Chinese engineers. To say otherwise is ridiculous. Any moron with half a brain can sit around all day and come up with ideas to patent. Hardly makes us inventive or innovative or useful. China doesn’t need our alleged intellect or our patents, they have their own engineers. We don’t have manufacturing here partly because all we have are dumb lawyers like yourself sitting around trying to acquire patents and blaming everyone else for inventing and innovating without giving them and you money. We don’t need your dumb patents and if you don’t like it find another job besides collecting patents and suing everyone and blaming them for innovating without giving your lazy butt money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Chinese companies and politicians must be laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans are.

I take umbrage with that remark.

The world is laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans are. America’s day is done. It’s simply a matter of time. And all the false tough-guy bravado in the world won’t help.

Anonymous Coward says:

An incredibly dismissive post.

” No one seems to know specifically what’s in the patent, but I do wonder if it matters. Like so many Chinese patent lawsuits this one just seems likely to end up with a foreign competitor being kept out of the market in favor of the domestic version. “

No, it could be that (a) nobody has bothered to look yet, and (b) that in fact the company did develop this technology themselves, inside the Chinese market, but it never went outside.

Perhaps a little research rather than an off handed flip is a better way to go?

staff says:

more dissembling

The Chinese market is controlled by the Chinese. There is little we can do about it. That’s the way it works for sovereigns. Rather, what we should be focused on is protecting our creations in the US. Patents are the only effective way of doing that. Otherwise, we expose our country to copycat imports from China and other low wage nations. Foreign markets are controlled by foreign patents to the extent they exist and are enforceable.

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