The Beijing Intellectual Property Office has ordered Apple to stop selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the city. The regulator has ruled that the design of the iPhone 6 and its bigger sibling are too similar to a Chinese phone. Apple is expected to appeal to the Beijing Higher People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Court in attempts to keep its two handsets in circulation within Beijing.
The iPhone models in question infringe on Shenzhen Baili’s patent for exterior design for its 100C smartphone, the Beijing Intellectual Property Bureau wrote in a statement on its website dated May 19.
“While the decision covers only Beijing, future lawsuits against Apple could take the case as a precedent, potentially influencing the outcomes of litigation elsewhere in China,” reads the article.
Ironically, Chinese OEMs are the one who are usually accused of copying the iPhone’s design language but this time around, the table seems to have turned for Apple. Similarly, the ruling is only limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and is not applicable for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even though the latter looks exactly the same as its predecessor.
Apple officially commented through the mouth of its spokeswoman, Kristin Huguet, who said in a statement to media that the 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.”
Curiously, The Wall Street Journal article covering the news cited a person familiar with the production plans as saying that Apple will “soon end production of both” the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models even though the company tends to keep past two iPhone generations on the market at reduced prices when introducing a brand new model.
Just last month, Apple lost the exclusive rights to the name “iPhone” in China, after a ruling by the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court favored leather goods maker Xintong Tiandi Technology. Apple has stayed headstrong in a retail rollout plan of new stores and locations for its Chinese users to visit and purchase its products, but the company still faces unexpected roadblocks in the country due to its strict internet policies.