A regional patent regulator in Beijing has ruled that Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 plus infringe on the design held by a Chinese company, ordering Apple to end the sale of its devices in the city, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The ruling from Beijing is the latest in a series of setbacks for the iPhone maker, as the company attempts to navigate heightened government scrutiny in China, its second largest market.
The Beijing Intellectual Property Bureau wrote in a statement that the two iPhone models too closely resemble the exterior design of a device made by Shenzhen Baili.
Apple is appealing the ruling, and the company told BuzzFeed News that the iPhones will remain available for sale in China. The higher level Beijing Intellectual Property Court will review the decision.
While many American technology companies have failed to gain a foothold in China, Apple is the rare exception. During its WWDC keynote event earlier this week, Apple repeatedly emphasized its features and products aimed at Chinese consumers, signaling their importance to the company's growth and international market share. But recently Apple has been the target of regulatory pushback there.
In April, Apple was forced to shut down its iBooks Store and iTunes Movies in China, only months after they were launched. According to the New York Times, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television "asserted its authority and demanded the closings," despite Apple gaining Beijing's approval.
“We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible,” Apple told BuzzFeed News at the time.
The patent ruling highlights China's aspirations to promote its own domestic technology companies, and follows increasing government efforts to bolster the censorship of speech and content online.
Hamza Shaban is a technology policy reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Hamza Shaban at Hamza.Shaban@buzzfeed.com.
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