Beijing Orders Apple to Stop Selling the iPhone 6 After an Alleged Patent Violation

Apple Inc’s dropping sales figures is about to get another downward nudge as China’s state regulators handed an injunction that bans selling of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Beijing.

Beijing’s municipal intellectual property bureau’s ruling went in favor of Shenzhen Baili, a Chinese startup believed to be another name for Digione, reported The Wall Street Journal. The smartphone company known for its cheap mobile phones is reportedly battling the Cupertino-based tech giant in a case involving a patent on smartphone design.

Based on the decision issued in December, Shenzhen Baili applied for a patent for the design of its smartphone model 100C’s exterior in January 2014 and was awarded in July of that year. When Apple applied to revoke the patent in the State Intellectual Property Office on March 2015, the regulator upheld it in December 2015.

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In a statement Friday, Apple asserted that all of its iPhones are still on sale in China’s capital pending a formal court review.

“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,” Apple said. “We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court.”

The injunction, which applies only in Beijing, proves how regulators have become dead set to enforcing Beijing’s rules to foreign firms.

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Chinese companies have even began to take advantage of the country’s domestic patent system, where they are allowed to lay claim to patents that they did not first develop.

Back in April, Chinese regulators also shut down Apple’s iBooks and iTunes services, citing the company’s alleged lack of necessary licenses.

While Apple claimed that its sales remain unaffected, the company is believed to lose a huge chunk of the lucrative market which has proven to be among its most loyal customer base. In Q1 of this year, the company has posted its first revenue decline in 13 years with sales in China as a big factor.

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook remains positive about his long-term outlook for China despite the decline in revenue, stating that the country is still poised to become the company’s biggest market.

In the past three years, Cook has visited China several times in an effort to develop ties within the country’s business community. Last month, the company announced an investment of $1 billion for ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

Two years ago Shenzhen Baili reportedly reached out to Apple via a letter in an attempt to settle the patent dispute out of court, but it was apparently rejected.

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The lucrative Chinese smartphone market accounted for 26 %, or $61 billion, of Apple’s revenue last year.

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