Apple is likely to face more patent battles in China, as The WSJ reports three Chinese companies, Huawei, Qualcomm and ZTE, sit atop the rankings for the most international patent filings.
Last year, Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker and the leader in the telecommunications-equipment market, was the largest filer of international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which makes it easier for companies to file patents in multiple countries […]
Patents are also playing a role in the harsher mobile landscape Apple and Samsung are navigating in China, where regulators increasingly insist that foreign companies play by Beijing’s rules.
Recently, Apple was hit by a ruling by the Beijing Intellectual Property Office, informing it that it would have to cease selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus within the city after Chinese firm Shenzhen Baili claimed the design of the two phones copied its own handset, despite evidence to the contrary. Shenzhen Baili itself is nearly out of business, and it was later revealed that the company likely made the claim against Apple as a PR stunt.
While Apple did manage to obtain a stay on the cease and desist order, a final ruling could go either way. Apple previously lost the exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in China to a Chinese leather goods maker.
A Shanghai lawyer believes it is likely Apple will see more lawsuits from Chinese firms:
“We are going to see a lot more Chinese companies filing patents outside China, and more deals and lawsuits involving patents and technologies,” said Benjamin Bai, a partner at Allen & Overy LLP in Shanghai who advises Chinese companies on international intellectual-property strategies.
Apple is making moves to shrink the amount of possible patent court battles it may have to face in the future, as the Cupertino firm and Huawei have reportedly struck a licensing deal where the U.S.-based company is paying royalties for the Chinese company’s patents.