Beijing - A group of prominent Chinese writers are suing Apple for allegedly selling unlicensed versions of their books in its online store.

The case is a reversal of the usual pattern of US artists or companies going after Chinese copycats.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported late Sunday that a group of 22 writers that includes novelist and race car driver Han Han are seeking 50 million yuan ($7.7 million) in compensation from Apple.

They say the company allegedly sold pirated copies of 95 Chinese books via its online store.

Product piracy is a major irritant in China-US relations, but usually involves complaints that Chinese are copying American products. - Sapa-AP