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Patent kerfuffle may halt sales of iPhones in Beijing

Bad news for Appleholics in the capital

China: land of the counterfeit, home of the knock-off. Because of this, you'd think that vague similarities in design between smartphones (screen, camera, the fact that they're all roughly phone-shaped) would matter very little. After all, the piles of 'iPhones' on sale for a bargain 300RMB at every tourist trap market around the city certainly don't hide in shame and bemoan their fake-ass status.

Hongqiao Pearl Market – seems legit

However, according to those at the Chinese intellectual property authority, Apple Inc. can be included among the knock-off merchants – even though they haven't got a stall at the Pearl Market with a taped-up sign and someone gently dragging tourists by the elbow to come and have a look!

According to the Beijing Intellectual Property Office, the iPhone 6 (the big, expensive one) and the iPhone 6 Plus (the huge, expensive, bendy one) are basically copycats of Shenzhen Baili's 100C phone. Because of this, they reckon that the Chinese company's patent rights have been infringed and that by continuing to sell the iPhones in Beijing, Apple is basically sticking two fingers up at originality, innovation and everything else that we hold dear.

In worse news for devotees of the Apple cult in our fair city, this ruling means that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus might be taken off shelves in Beijing, under an injunction barring their sale. The company says, at least for now, sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will go ahead. However, the ruling doesn’t include Apple’s latest model, the 6S – which, at least to look at, is nearly identical.

This isn't even the first bit of Chinese drama for Apple in recent months. In May, the company lost the right to use the term 'iPhone' exclusively after a Beijing court allowed an accessories maker to brand its wares with the label.

iphone comp
Spot the difference

I mean... they're obviously not the same phone. They look similar, in the same way that all palm-sized shiny rectangles look similar, but all phones nowadays look similar. After all, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, especially when worldwide influence on aesthetic ideals is considered. We at Time Out therefore advocate for a return to the halycon days of phones with character: lurid pink Motorola Razrs, Nokias cleverly disguised as actual house bricks, that Samsung one everyone had that slid up with a slightly unnerving rattle to reveal the keyboard. At least they all look different enough to prevent this national tragedy from occurring again.