Apple Wins Court Battle In China: iPhone 6 Did Not Infringe Design Patent


Apple is frequently entangled in legal battles, some of which are quite bizarre such as the lawsuit from China-based Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co. This company alleged in 2016 that Apple stole the design of the former's 100C handset for its iPhone 6.

The patent troll sued Apple and its distribution partner Zhongfu Telecom for violation. As a consequence, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office decreed that the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 smartphones not be sold in stores in Beijing. However, Apple did not cease selling the two smartphones and appealed against the directive.

Apple Wins Legal Tussle: iPhone 6 Did Not Infringe Design Patent

Much water has flown under the bridge since the lawsuit and now, a court in China has ruled in Apple's favor, overturning the decision by the Beijing Intellectual Property Office.

On Friday, March 24, the Intellectual Property Court in China overturned the older ruling, which makes Apple free from the legal hassle.

"A Beijing court has overturned a ruling that Apple's iPhone 6 violated a Chinese manufacturer's patent which saw the US tech giant ordered to cease selling the smartphone in Beijing," notes a report from South China Morning Post.

The court also decreed that Apple did not violate any design patent, as claimed by the defunct Shenzhen Baili.

Apple's Never-Ending Woes

This is not the first controversy Apple has been embroiled in. China-based Xintong Tiandi Technology also sued Apple in May 2016. The case saw the smartphone maker losing its rights to the trademark "iPhone" in the country.

This ensured that Tiandi, a leather goods dealer, could retail its products under the brand name "IPHONE." Apple had to contend with the ruling as even though it filed for the term "iPhone" in China in October 2002 under the "computer hardware and software" category, the patent was granted in 2013. Tiandi, on the other hand, filed for the patent in the "leather goods" category in 2007.

Coincidentally, Apple increased the price of its iPhone 7 in China, when it was launched in 2016. The company explained that this was because of Chinese currency depreciating in the prior 12 months.

At the time, many Chinese phone manufacturers thought that Apple was copying their phone designs. This was primarily to do with the fact that features such as dual camera, as well as handsets without headphone jacks, were first embraced by Chinese smartphones.

Apple's China Plans

Apple intends to open a second R&D center in the tech hub of Shenzhen, the first is in Beijing as shared by CEO Tim Cook in August 2016. This move is in a bid to tackle competition from OEMs such as ZTE and Huawei.

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