The Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled on Friday that Apple’s design of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is too similar to that of Chinese phone maker Shenzhen Baili’s 100C phone.
The decision only affects Beijing for the moment, and Apple may still be able to sell iPhone 6 models while it files an appeal, Bloomberg reported. The company is in fact said to have several means of fighting any possible sales ban, such as the Beijing Higher People’s Court or the Supreme People’s Court.
While Apple didn’t immediately comment on the matter, it will appeal the ruling, in order to avoid losing sales in a major city like Beijing. The ruling could also set a precedent in other areas of China.
Apple Will Appeal
In a statement given to CNBC, Apple confirmed that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as other models, are “available for sale today in China,” and that the company has initiated the appeal process in Beijing.
“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,” Apple told CNBC in a statement.
Any issues brought about by the ruling could be short lived, as it covers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Both handsets have already been bumped from the flagship position by the newer iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and could be bumped from the lineup entirely in the fall, due to the expected debut of the iPhone 7.
Apple has not had a great track record in China when it comes to patents and trademarks. Just last month, the company lost the exclusive rights to use the “iPhone” name, and back in 2012 the device maker paid out $60 million to settle a trademark dispute over the “iPad” name.