It appears that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has once again faced a major setback in the Chinese Mainland. According to an earlier report published on Forbes, Apple has been instructed by a Chinese intellectual property regulation authority to cease sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the region. The iPhone maker’s shares consequently dropped by more than 2% in trading today.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Office has come to the conclusion that Apple, along with its Chinese distribution partner Zhongfu Telecom, violated the patent held by Shenzhenz Baili. Shenzhen Baili is a small-scale smartphone manufacturer which launched a lawsuit against Apple recently. Shenzhen alleged that Apple stole the external design of the 100C cellphone when it developed the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus.
“Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have minor differences from Baili’s 100C. The differences are so tiny that the average customer could not notice. So, this case falls into the patent rights protection category,” the regulatory body said in an official statement. Apple, on the other hand, moved to appeal against the ruling made by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court.
This is the second major challenge the Cupertino-based company has witnessed in China over the recent months. Back in May, the Beijing Municipal High People’s court decided that Xintong Tiandi Technology, which manufactures leather goods, still has the right to still use the iPhone label on its goods. A month later, in April, Chinese lawmakers decided to block Apple’s iBooks and iTunes Movie in the region after it operated just for six months.
Apple’s market situation in China is already going through a deterioration phase due to declining demand in the region, which otherwise accounted for 25% of the company’s overall sales. During the second quarter of the current fiscal year, Apple’s revenue in China declined 26% year-over-year. Through that quarter, iPhone sales declined year-over-year for the first time in over a decade, marking an end to Apple’s quarterly winning streak.