In the latest chapter of bad news for Apple in China, Beijing is halting the sale of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office just ruled that because the devices infringe on the patent rights of the 100C, a phone made by Shenzhen Baili that almost no one has ever heard of. Weird, huh?
Here’s a quick side by side of the 100c and the iPhone 6:
Here’s another look via Patently Apple:
One thing is for certain: they are both definitely... phones. They are rectangular in shape and feature cameras. The likeliness basically stops there. Nevertheless, the Beijing IP Office says that customers could be confused between the two and that is grounds for infringement.
9to5Mac says that the claim could be a way to force Apple to settle, which the company has been known to do instead of going through the courts. Also, the decision by the patent office can still be appealed to higher courts in China.
Apple is having a tough go of it in China lately. In April, Apple posted its first decline in iPhone sales since the phone’s 2007 release, and a major contributor to that downward trend was China. The country banned iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store in April and even rebuffed that company’s attempts for exclusive rights to the name “iPhone”.
With Apple’s already struggling financial situation in the country, this possible ban comes at a bad time. Strangely, the ban doesn’t seem to include Apple’s almost identical and newest iPhone 6s models, and Apple is planning to release the iPhone 7 in September. During any appeals process, Apple would likely be able to continue selling the phone as well. So, it could be worse.
Apple released a statement to Gizmodo regarding the Beijing ruling:
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE models are all available for sale today in China. We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court.