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 last month, has been touted as China's closest answer to the US-developed chatbot ChatGPT.
Baidu said it had lodged lawsuits in Beijing Haidian People's Court against the developers behind the counterfeit applications of its Ernie bot and the Apple company.
"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 only available to users who apply for and receive access codes. In its statement, Baidu also warned against people selling access codes.
Baidu unveiled its artificial intelligence-powered chatbot known as Ernie Bot in March this year. Ernie stands short for "Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration". The popularity of ChatGPT, backed by Microsoft, has triggered a frenzied rush among Chinese tech giants and startups alike to develop a rival.
Ernie Bot initially opened to only a group of users with invitation codes, and companies can apply to embed the bot into their products via Baidu's cloud platform.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.