iPhone 6 Banned in Beijing over Patent Infringement

China-made fake iPhone S6, ZTE Blade 6S

China-made fake iPhone 6, the Android-based ZTE Blade 6S (left).

BEACON TRANSCRIPTApple can no longer sell its iPhone 6 and IPhone 6 Plus in the Chinese capital city as the city’s regulators found that the U.S. smartphone maker allegedly stole some exterior design detsils from a locally produced handset: the 100C.

Although the iPhones are obviously different from the Chinese counterpart, which is manufactured by Shenzhen Baili, Beijing’s intellectual property authorities ruled that they are disturbingly similar. Chinese authorities even found that Apple infringed a Chinese patent held by the 100C’s maker.

According to the ruling, there are “minor differences” between the U.S. and Chinese phones. Plus, because variations between the devices are so “tiny” an average user could be easily tricked. As a result, the ruling states, the case is deferred to a court that handles patent infringement.

Apple doesn’t expect the bizarre ruling to affect its profits. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are already two years old and are expected to be removed from sale globally this fall when iPhone 7 gets launched.

In response, the U.S. company said that Chinese customers can currently buy all iPhone 6 models including iPhone 6Plus and iPhone 6s. But the company had to file an appeal against the ban in Beijing with the Beijing intellectual property court, which is currently reviewing the case.

Apple is not Chinese authorities’ darling right now. So, it has struggled to make friends with Chinese businesses and regulators through heavy investments in local businesses. For instance, it poured $1 billion into the Chinese version of Uber taxi app firm, Didi. The move is very unusual for Apple which usually invests such large amounts of cash to acquire a business.

But Apple took the decision after Chinese regulators banned Apple iTunes Movies and Books from the country. Plus it also lost a lawsuit against a Chinese luxury goods firm which requested to use the “iPhone” name on its handbags.

Furthermore, Chinese companies have flooded the market with iPhone copycats and no one seems to care. For example, Goophone i6S and i6S are a perfect replica of iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus with the sole difference that they are powered by Android, lack the apple logo, and are a lot cheaper than the iPhone: $129 and $149, respectively.

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