It turns out Shenzhen Baili, the Chinese company that last week managed to get a Beijing patent office ruling that the iPhone 6 copied its own 100C phone smartphone, has all but gone out of business.
[Parent company] Digione had collapsed, brought down by buggy products, mismanagement and fierce competition, according to former employees and investors. Digione has been absent from China’s mobile-phone market for at least a year and Baidu has accused it of squandering its investment.
When the WSJ attempted to contact anyone at the company behind the patent claim, it found a company that had basically shut down. Phone calls to to the company – Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services – weren’t answered, their websites no longer exist, and when WSJ visited three listed company addresses, no offices were found.
In spite of evidence that the company is all but shut down, a company lawyer insists the business still exists, and has a rightful claim to the patents in question.
Baili, its unit that registered the phone patents, will continue to battle Apple in court, said Digione lawyer Andy Yang, of Beijing Wis & Weals. “Shenzhen Baili is still operational in its necessary functions,” he said […]
Baili may consider expanding its suit to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, said Mr. Yang. “The issue here is not whether Digione makes phones anymore, but whether the iPhone 6 infringes on this patent,” he said.
Baili first filed their patent infringement claim against Apple’s iPhone 6 soon after the September 2014 launch of the device. The report says some former employees of Baili say the claim against Apple was just a PR stunt, designed to get some much-needed publicity for the company’s phones. The validity of the patent seems to be in question, according to the report.
In March 2014, Baili was granted a patent from Chinese regulators for a smartphone design that had curved edges and a rear camera in the left-hand corner. Leaked images of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 floating online at the time showed a similar design — curved edges instead of the straight ones of previous iPhone models. There were also some similarities in button placement.
While the case is working its way through the court, in what is expected to be a lengthy process, Apple is still being allowed to sell its phones in China while the case works itself out.