Apple Inc. is battling yet another lawsuit for alleged infringement of a smartphone design.
The Cupertino-based company is facing the wrath of a little-known company from China called Baili Marketing Service Inc, which claims that its design has been ripped off and used for the iPhone 6.
According to a report from the Beijing Morning Post, Shenzhen-based Baili claims that Apple has copied its design for the 100C smartphone and used it on its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The company claims copyright infringement and has sued Apple Inc. and its distribution partner Zhongfu Telecom, a store chain based in Beijing.
Apparently, Baili was successful in convincing the Beijing Intellectual Property Office that Apple had indeed ripped off the 100C smartphone's design for its own products. So in a twist of tale, an injunction was issued and the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 were "ordered" to be off the shelves in Beijing stores.
The reason cited was that consumers would be unable to distinguish between the "minute differences" of the Apple smartphone and the 100C, which is part of the 100+ brand from Baili.
"The 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," noted the ruling.
Baili launched its 100C smartphone in April 2014, whereas the iPhone 6 released in fall 2014 - a point the company asserts in its argument.
Apple, however, did not get intimidated by Baili and has filed an appeal to remove the ban. At the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, both Zhongfu and Apple have filed an administrative lawsuit against the Beijing Intellectual Property Office.
Both the companies are seeking a revoke of the ruling by the Office, as well as an official announcement that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus do not fall into the patent protection range. The companies also assert that the two Apple smartphones in question have several marked differences compared to the Baili handset.
The case has been accepted by the court and it sent a subpoena to the Office. The proceedings are currently underway.
Interestingly, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still on the store shelves (and will likely continue to be there). Bizarrely enough, Baili does not claim that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — which have similar design sensibilities to its predecessors — also infringe its design.
For those wondering if there is a slim possibility that Apple may have infringed Baili's 100C smartphone's design — a look at the device's pictures will put all thought of it being copied to rest.