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Apple sued to stop App Store clones of Baidu's Ernie AI chatbot

Chinese tech giant Baidu has sued Apple and a number of app developers, to stop the flood of fake Ernie bot apps from appearing in the App Store.

Filed in Beijing Haidian People's Court on Friday, Baidu is suing Apple and developers of counterfeit Ernie bot apps. It is trying to force Apple into taking down the offending fake apps, and to stop the app creators from offering them.

The Ernie (Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration) bot is an AI chatbot in a similar vein to ChatGPT and Google Bard. Users can ask questions or request statements, and the bot creates an answer based on information in a knowledge graph.

While Ernie opened in March, Baidu has yet to make apps for the service, leaving an opening other developers are trying to fill. "At present, Ernie does not have any official app," said Baidu in a statement seen by Reuters.

"Until our company's official announcement, any Ernie app you see from App Store or other stores are fake," the statement via the official "Baidu AI" WeChat account reads.

Rather than providing open access, Ernie bot is only accessible to users who apply for access codes. Baidu used its statement to warn users against selling the codes on.

Apple has yet to publicly comment on the lawsuits against itself nor App Store developers. A search of the App Store by Reuters on Saturday found at least four fake Ernie bot apps were still available.