Update: Apple has now put out an official statement regarding the matter.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE models are all available for sale today in China. We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court.
According to a report from Bloomberg, a Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruling has now suspended all sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus due to a violation of a design patent found in a Chinese phone.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus infringe on Shenzhen Baili’s patent rights because of similarities to its 100C phone, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office wrote in its decision. Apple, whose iconic gadgets helped define the modern smartphone industry, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
However, Apple is not standing down and will be fighting this bizarre change (via Patently Apple). Bird and Bird partner and IP specialist Ted Chwu says Apple has multiple options in this particular case.
“If the position by the Beijing IP office is upheld and Apple doesn’t appeal further, then in theory they wouldn’t be able to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” he said, [but noted that] Apple can try to stave off a sales ban by appealing in several venues, including the Beijing Higher People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Court.
The most obvious reason behind such a patent infringement would to gain a financial settlement from Apple. While there’s no rhyme or reason for the claim, Apple sometimes justifies a financial settlement rather than going through the legal proceedings.