The Beijing Intellectual Property Office has ordered Apple to stop selling its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Beijing.
Shenzhen Baili, a little-known startup, won a ban against sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as the phones allegedly infringe on Shenzhen Baili’s patent rights because of similarities to its Baili 100C phone.
Apple filed a counter lawsuit calling for the ruling to be annulled.
The phones are still being be sold in China as the order was stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court upon Apple’s appeal.
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The ruling is an intimation of the growing challenges Western companies face in China. The Chinese markets aren’t very open to the competition brought in by foreign firms. But Apple has so far been immune to Beijing’s reluctance to welcome foreign products.
But, apparently, under President Xi Jinping, China is taking a stricter stance.
Apple last month announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co., which many say is a way to win favor with Beijing.
Chinese companies are also learning to take advantage of a maturing domestic patent system, laying claim to patents even if they weren’t the first to develop the broader technology, said Erick Robinson, chief patent counsel for Asia Pacific at the Rouse China law firm. “It is still relatively rare for Chinese companies to attack and be successful against Western companies, but you’re going to see more and more of this,” he said.