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Apple beats Chinese company's copycat claim in Chinese court

New ruling in Beijing declares that Chinese phone maker Shenzhen Baili's patent infringement claim is unfounded.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 next to its larger Plus sibling.

Josh Miller/CNET

A Beijing court has overturned a previous ruling that Apple infringed a design patent of Chinese company Shenzhen Baili and has declared Baili's claims to be unfounded, reports the AFP.

Apple didn't have an easy time in China last year. In 2016 the Chinese government shut down Apple's Movies and iBook services on iTunes. Apple lost its exclusive right to the "iPhone" brand when a Beijing court ruled that a leather goods maker could also sell its products as "iPhone" last May. And the company saw its sales dip by 23 percent.

Baidu-backed phone maker Shenzhen Baili, a company that "barely exists" according to reports, accused Apple of violating its design patent in 2014. It claimed that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus look too similar to its 100C phone model. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled in its favour and banned Apple from selling the phones in the city last May. Sales were allowed to continue following Apple's appeal.

The new ruling, however, deemed Baili's claim to be unfounded and recognised that the iPhone 6 has features that "completely change the effect of the entire product [...] and both phones are easily distinguishable in the eyes of consumers."

An Apple representative declined CNET's request for comment.

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