Late last week, reports began to surface indicating that Apple was being forced to halt sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Beijing due to a patent infringement claim from a company called Schenzhen Baili. Specifically, the company alleged that Apple’s 2014 iPhone models infringed upon the design of its own 100C smartphone.
As it turns out, sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 models were never halted, but the allegations against Apple were very much real, albeit frivolous. The short of it is that Apple will be able to continue selling the iPhone 6 as the case makes its way through the Chinese court system.
Understandably, the very possibility — no matter how slight — that iPhones in China might be taken off the shelves caused great concern among investors. After all, China remains Apple’s most strategic market as it hopes to reverse stalling iPhone sales.
In light of all this, the Wall Street Journal dug a little bit deeper and discovered that Schenzhen Baili “barely exists.” Not only does the company have no working phone, the Journal discovered that there’s not even a company office to speak of. In other words, what we have here is nothing more than your run of the mill patent troll.
Nonetheless, the lawsuit will reportedly continue.
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.
The issue here is not whether Digione makes phones anymore, but whether the iPhone 6 infringes on this patent,” he said.
According to reports, Beijig’s Intellecutal Property Court will likely issue a ruling on the matter in just a few months. Of course, with the impending release of the iPhone 7, it’s entirely likely that production of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will have already ceased by the time a ruling is issued.
Notably, a number of former Schenzhen Baili employees told the Journal that the lawsuit was nothing more than a publicity stunt, presumably to draw attention to the company’s smartphone lineup.