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Apple fighting iPhone 6, 6 Plus copycat claim in Beijing

A decision against Apple initially meant a ban on sales of the phones, but that has been lifted following Apple's filing of an appeal.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
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Watch this: Apple ordered to stop selling iPhone 6, 6 Plus in Beijing

Apple, which has long accused competitors of copying the look of its iPhone, is getting the same treatment.

Little-known Chinese company Shenzhen Baili claims that Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus look too much like its own 100C phone. Last month, Beijing's intellectual property regulator responded to the accusation by ordering a ban on sales of the two iPhone models in the capital city, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the ban, all iPhones remain on sale there because Apple filed an appeal, the company confirmed Friday.

"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," the company said in a statement emailed to CNET.

Baili's claim apparently does not affect the newer iPhone 6S or 6S Plus, which share a similar look.

The order represents the latest setback for Apple in the increasingly significant Chinese market and comes after the company lost the rights to the "iPhone" trademark this spring. China, which accounts for a quarter of Apple's sales, is the largest phone market in the world. The country is also an area of growth at a time when many consumers in the US or Western Europe already own an iPhone.

China is a tough place for international companies to operate, though. Google pulled many of its services out of the country years ago due to censorship concerns. In May, the government shut down Apple's iTunes and iBooks services.

The trouble of selling inside China isn't crimping Apple's desire to create a big presence in the country. Last month, Apple invested $1 billion in ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, Uber's main rival in China, as a chance to "learn more about certain segments of the China market," CEO Tim Cook told Reuters.

--CNET's Daniel Van Boom contributed to this report.