Baidu sues Apple, app developers over fake Ernie bot apps

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SHANGHAI – Chinese search engine giant Baidu has filed lawsuits against “relevant” app developers and Apple over fake copies of its Ernie bot app available on Apple’s app store.

The company’s artificial intelligence-powered Ernie bot, launched in March, has been touted as China’s closest answer to the United States-developed chatbot ChatGPT.

Baidu said it lodged lawsuits at the Beijing Haidian People’s Court against the developers behind the counterfeit applications of its Ernie bot and Apple.

“At present, Ernie does not have any official app,” Baidu said in a statement late on Friday posted on its official “Baidu AI” WeChat account.

It also posted a photograph of its court filing.

“Until our company’s official announcement, any Ernie app you see from App Store or other stores are fake,” it said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Reuters search on Saturday found there were still at least four apps bearing the Chinese-language name of the Ernie bot, all fake, in Apple’s App Store.

The Ernie bot is available only to users who apply for and receive access codes. In its statement, Baidu also warned against people selling access codes. REUTERS

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