Apple and China haven’t had the best relationship over the years, with the country going out of its way to promote local brands to the detriment of the former. The company is now facing its greatest challenge there yet with the threat of an official ban on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hanging over its head.
In what can be considered a bizarre turn of events, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office has ruled that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus infringe on Shenzhen Baili’s patent for their 100C handset. Images of the latter reveal a regular looking Android smartphone which has very little in common with the iPhone’s design.
The sentence is ironic considering the flood of Chinese iPhone knockoffs that have been available in the nation for years. As per Bloomberg, Apple might have to halt sales of its offerings in the future if it doesn’t successfully manage to overrule the decision. For now, it’s issued a statement clarifying that it’s still selling the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus and SE in the country.
Apple had appealed the order last month and successfully managed to wrangle a stay on the ruling pending a review by the Beijing IP Court. Losing the case could be disastrous for the brand, considering China is one of the main reasons it’s managed to stay afloat amid slowing sales across the world.
Apple’s previous tussles with China have seen it losing the exclusive right to use the iPhone name to an obscure accessories maker who utilized it for their line of wallets and purses. Even worse, the manufacturer actually had to pay $60 million to Proview International Holdings to settle a row over the right to use the iPad name in the region.