Taiwanese university suing Apple over Siri patent
30th Jul 2012 | 22:09
The suit is likely 'frivolous'
Because Apple's legal teams aren't stretched thin enough at the moment, a Taiwanese university has brought a new patent suit against the iPhone-seller.
Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University is suing Apple over the iPhone virtual assistant Siri, which the university claims infringes on two voice-to-text patents it acquired in 2007 and 2010.
Siri was the target of a class action suit earlier this year, though Apple had no difficulty defending itself from that attack.
Chinese company Zhizhen Network Technology also sued Apple earlier this month over an "instant messaging chat bot" patent.
At least one analyst, though, thinks that most of these cases can be described only as "frivolous."
Following the money
Piper Jaffray analyst and Apple expert Gene Munster told TechRadar today that most cases brought against Apple have little actual merit.
"I mean, historically, they haven't," he said.
"These legal issues tend to follow where the money is, and obviously Apple is where the money's at."
The National Cheng Kung University hasn't specified exactly what damages it's seeking, although they're reportedly based on sales of devices equipped with Siri (meaning the iPhone 4S), and could be significant.
'You could hit the jackpot'
Apple has been the target of a seemingly endless parade of patent suits in the last few years, and they've raised several against other companies.
"It started with the iPod. That was when we first started seeing more and more of these. And obviously with the iPhone it's gone up exponentially," Munster said.
"Everyone wants to get rich, and one easy way to do it is to sue Apple."
Apple and Samsung, for example, have dozens of cases raging against one another in 10 countries.
"The majority of them are frivolous, but [you] can't blame these people for trying, because you could hit the jackpot," Munster explained.
"I think they're frivolous, but they're just going to keep coming."