A Beijing intellectual property (IP) court overturned a ban on Apple selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in China, ruling the US vendor did not violate the design patent of a previously unknown Chinese firm.
In May 2016 an IP tribunal in Beijing ruled the design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus infringed on an exterior design patent held by Shenzhen Baili, which claimed the Apple models look too much like its 100c smartphone. Earlier reports said the regulator had banned sales of the two models in Beijing, but Apple immediately appealed the ruling and said at the time all iPhone models were still available for sale throughout the country.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court said Apple did not violate Shenzhen Baili’s design patent for its 100c phones and ruled the regulator did not follow due procedures in ordering the ban, while there was no sufficient proof to claim the designs constituted a violation of intellectual property rights, Xinhua news agency reported.
Representatives of the patent regulator, Beijing Intellectual Property Office, and Shenzhen Baili said they are deciding whether to appeal.
In a related ruling, the Beijing court denied an Apple request to strip Shenzhen Baili of its design patent for 100c phones, Xinhua said.
Apple has faced a number of legal obstacles in the mainland over the past year, and last May CEO Tim Cook met with high-level Chinese officials in Beijing to try to reduce tension.