A court in Beijing has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the Chinese capital. The court ruled that the phones’ exterior design is too close to that of a Chinese brand and infringe on the Chinese company’s design patent.
The action against Apple was brought by Shenzhen Baili in defense of its 100C phone. The ruling was announced by the Beijing Intellectual Property Office. Apple can appeal the decision.
It is not clear that the ruling will have a major financial impact on Apple as the company has already scaled back sales of these older models and replace them with newer phones in most outlets. But it is a further symbolic blow for the company in China.
In April, Chinese regulators shut down the iTunes Movies and iBooks services in the country. Sales of Apple phones in China slipped in the first quarter and were a significant contributor to Apple’s financial reverse, also revealed in April.
Apple, which actually makes many of its phones in China, has frequently been buffeted in the Middle Kingdom. Chinese state media have accused the company of poor customer service and warranties. In 2012 it paid out in a settlement over the use of the name iPad. And more recently it lost the right to exclusive use of the name iPhone. Several years ago Chinese companies opened a number of fake Apple stores.