Apple faces Beijing blackout for iPhone 6


Apple has lost a patent infringement lawsuit that could see the iPhone booted from China's capital.

The Beijing Intellectual Property Office this week ruled that Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ripped off patented designs held by Chinese smartphone maker Shenzhen Baili, which flogs a handset called the 100C.

Apple has appealed the ruling and, pending the outcome of that effort, will continue to sell the iPhone 6 as well as the newer 6S and 6S Plus models and the iPhone SE in Beijing.

The patent office's decision [PDF] probably won't have a major impact on Apple's move into mainland China due to the ruling's limited scope.

Other iPhone models were not mentioned in the decision, and the decision – if allowed to stand – only applies to the city of Beijing itself, meaning iPhones would still be allowed to go on sale in other parts of the country.

According to Apple's most recent quarterly numbers [PDF], sales in greater China accounted for $12.48bn in revenues, making it the second-largest market behind the Americas. Apple sold 51 million iPhones in the last quarter, and handset sales account for $32.8bn of the company's total $50.5bn revenue haul for the same time period.

The decision marks another bump in Apple's road into the world's most populous country. Earlier this year, Chinese authorities shut down the Apple books and movies services, and in April the Cupertino giant was called to the floor by the US Congress to provide details on whether it had been handing over user details in China, something Apple denied. ®

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