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Apple Wins iPhone 6 Patent Case in China

Apple Inc. iPhone 6s Goes On SaleApple Inc. iPhone 6s Goes On Sale
A customers uses an Apple iPhone at the company's store during the sales launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at the IAPM shopping mall in Shanghai, China, on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.Qilai Shen—Bloomberg/Getty Images

A Beijing court has overturned a prior ruling that Apple infringed on a Chinese company’s patents in its design for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The plaintiff, Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services, filed its initial complaint last June, claiming that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus infringed on the design of Baili’s 100C model. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office initially granted Baili an injunction that would have stopped sales of the iPhone 6 in China, but Apple immediately appealed.

Now a Beijing intellectual property court has decided the appeal in Apple’s favor, finding, according to the Wall Street Journal, that Baili had no grounds for its claim, and its phone could be easily distinguished from the iPhone designs.

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The decision follows previous reports that Baili itself “barely exists,” having flamed out in China’s smartphone wars. Baili no longer manufactures phones, and with the loss of its case against Apple, its remaining intellectual property has likely lost much of its value. According to TechCrunch, though, Baili does plan to appeal the decision.

The decision offers a ray of hope in a legal landscape that has sometimes seemed to put national interest ahead of fair play. Chinese courts had previously ruled, for instance, that a Chinese manufacturer had the right to use the iPhone name on leather goods.