Chinese technology major Baidu has filed lawsuits against Apple and app developers over counterfeit versions of its Ernie bot app that are available on the iPhone maker’s app store, reported Reuters.

Baidu artificial intelligence-powered Ernie bot, which debuted last month, has been hailed as China’s closest competition to the US-based OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

According to Baidu, it has filed cases in Beijing Haidian People’s Court against both Apple and the developers of the fakes of its Ernie bot.

“At present, Ernie does not have any official app,” Baidu was quoted by the news agency as saying on its official “Baidu AI” WeChat account.

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

Only individuals who request and obtain access codes are permitted to use the Ernie bot. Baidu also issued a cautionary note on the sale of access codes.

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By GlobalData

The news comes as technology companies across the globe try to ride the AI tsunami that is sweeping through numerous industries.

Joining the fray is China’s tech major Alibaba, which is inviting businesses to test its Tongyi Qianwen AI chatbot, reported the news agency, citing a report by STAR Market Daily.

Businesses can now register to test Alibaba’s AI application, the report said.

Citing a source, the news agency said that like ChatGPT, Alibaba’s AI chatbot was also a large language model (LLM) application.

Last week, the cloud computing division of Alibaba teased the AI chatbot by posting a social media message that said: “Hello, my name is Tongyi Qianwen, this is our first time meeting, I welcome your feedback.”