A Chinese intellectual property bureau required Apple to stop the sales of its popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, after finding out that the Cupertino company infringed the patent right of a little-known local device maker.
Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that Apple and its Chinese distributor Zhongfu Telecom infringed the patent of Shenzhen-based Baili, which is suing the iPhone maker for copying the exterior design of its 100C device.
“Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have minor differences from Baili’s 100C. The differences are so tiny that the average customer could not notice. So, this case falls into the patent rights protection category,” the ruling reads.
Apple didn’t comment on the matter, but according to some reports, the Cupertino company has already filed a lawsuit calling for the ruling to be annulled. Bird and Bird partner and IP specialist Ted Chwu noted that Apple has some legal options open to it.
Apple has a problematic relationship with the Chinese government. In April, Chinese authorities abruptly closed Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movie just six months after they started in the country. There were no comments on the ban from authorities. In addition, this year the company lost exclusive rights to the “iPhone” name, and in 2012 it was required to pay out $60 million to settle a dispute over the “iPad” trademark.