Chinese firm Shanghai Zhizhen, which was recently awarded a local patent for a voice assistant similar to Apple’s Siri, has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against the iPhone maker that, if successful, could prevent Apple from selling its smartphones and other products in China, its second most important market.

The company is calling for 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in damages and demands that Apple cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” products that infringe on the patent, it said in a social media post. In the lawsuit filed in a local Chinese court, Xiao-i argued that Apple’s voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent that it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

In a statement, Apple said that its Siri does not contain features included in the Xiao-i patent, which the iPhone maker argues relates to games and instant messaging. The company also said that independent appraisers certified by the Supreme People’s Court have concluded that Apple does not infringe Xiao-i Robot’s technology.

“We are disappointed Xiao-i Robot has filed another lawsuit,” Apple said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting the facts to the court and we will continue to focus on delivering the best products and services in the world to our customers.” Reuters was not immediately available to find a copy of the court filing.

The lawsuit marks the continuation of a row that has been ongoing for nearly a decade. Shanghai Zhizhen first sued Apple for patent infringement in 2012 regarding its voice-recognition technology. In July, China’s Supreme People’s court ruled that the patent was valid.

Todd Horwitz Chief Strategist BubbaTrading.com
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