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Apple not guilty of patent infringement with Siri, Chinese court says

Apple has won a decisive victory in a long-running intellectual property fight over Siri in China, as the Beijing Higher People's Court has decided that the company's personal digital assistant does not infringe on patents held by Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology.

"The move means Apple's Siri voice recognition system did not infringe the protected rights of other patents and Apple fans can continue enjoying the conveniences brought by the technology," the court said when announcing the ruling, according to AFP. The dispute has been winding its way through the courts for nearly three years.

Zhizhen first sued Apple in 2012, alleging that Siri violated Zhizhen patents used on its "Xiaoi Bot" application. Apple subsequently attempted to have the patent invalidated, and then filed suit against China's State Intellectual Property Office after being rebuffed.

After losing that fight, Apple appealed to the Beijing Higher People's Court.

China is an increasingly important market for Apple, and the company has faced a number of legal challenges as it grows its Chinese operations and encroaches on local players. A previous trademark case —  involving the iPad trademark — against Chinese display makers Proview resulted in a $60 million settlement.