Apple’s patent fight loss in China seen emboldening rivals

“The Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled last week that some Apple devices violate the design patents of little-known Chinese smartphone vendor Shenzhen Baili,” David Ramli and Selina Wang report for Bloomberg. “While the iPhone maker appealed to keep its best-selling gadgets on the market, it could face a rising tide of lawsuits and a threat to its sales if the ruling creates a precedent, according to Counterpoint Research.”

“Baili is just one of scores of smartphone brands trying to cash in on the country’s mobile boom. Legitimate lawsuits are on the rise as Chinese companies build up their intellectual property through research and development, said James Yan, Beijing-based research director at Counterpoint,” Ramli and Wang report. “‘Chinese makers have been building their own IP pools over the past years and are able to somehow fight against industry giants,’ he said. ‘Apple isn’t willing to publicly lose an IP case in China and the best option for them is to offer settlement fees.'”

“Apple should really have caught the potential patent violation before it reached the courts, said Benjamin Bai, the head of Allen & Overy’s IP practice,” Ramli and Wang report. “‘They should’ve found the patent and dealt with it – this should never be a surprise,’ said Bai, who previously had Apple as a client at his former firm. But ‘there are a lot more things Apple can do to get out of this mess. You pay license fees and settle this mess. The second is to appeal and in the meantime try to invalidate the patent.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s either a shakedown or stupidity because there is no infringement. If Apple’s iPhone infringe on Baili’s, then virtually every smartphone introduced since the iPhone debuted in 2007 infringes on Apple’s design patents.

The devices compared:

Baili 100+ 100C phone
Baili 100+ 100C phone


Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6

Jim Cramer: Reports of Apple iPhone’s demise in China are greatly exaggerated – June 17, 2016
Not even Apple can depend on fair treatment in China – June 17, 2016
No, the iPhone hasn’t been hit with a China sales ban, but Apple is in a sticky situation – June 17, 2016
Beijing regulator orders Apple to stop sales of iPhone 6/Plus models – June 17, 2016
Chinese company sues Apple for alleging ‘copying’ their design in iPhone 6 – June 16, 2016


  1. This does not bode well. China has repeatedly shown it plays by no rules but its own. The second they find they can live without Western companies or influence they will not hesitate to throw the rest of the world to the curb.

  2. IMHO the United States has a more hostile legal environment than China. Apple is constantly sued by US troll companies. In addition, look at the Samsung ripoff and how Samsung has been getting basically a free pass.

  3. To All Previous Commenters:

    Unfortunately, the landmark Apple v Samsung Intellectual Property case in the USA — which _should have_ been a slam-dunk ruling in favor of Apple but turned into a media circus and barely a slap on the wrist for Samsung — is the real travesty of justice. It has set precedent for the namby-pamby treatment of patent infringers in none other than the good ol’ US of A. This has emboldened many, many others.

    I typically refrain from political rhetoric, but here I must ask myself if somehow, and in some way, Trump may be right on certain topics …such as this one. Sad. US DOJ and Judge Lucy Koh — thank you! /s

    It is hard to fault China after the US DOJ basically gave Samsung a free-ride on the back of Apple.

  4. Why folks are treating this as an absolutist decision beats me. This will disappear on appeal to a higher court hearing, just like the US. Local decisions are easily obtained – the threshold is very low to satisfy the law but are almost always overturned when common sense prevails and the the realisation that such decisions inevitably penalise home grown industries too.
    Just look at the Texas docket racket.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.