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Chinese lawsuit seeks to invalidate Apple's iPhone design patents

As Apple looks to halt the sales of Meizu's iPhone lookalike in China, the company must now defend its patented iPhone design from a new lawsuit.

According to The Beijing Times, Luoen Network Information has sued Apple over the design of the iPhone, alleging that the patents owned by the company in China are invalid. As translated by MeizuMe, Chinese law makes it possible only to apply for product-specific patents.

"If one applies for a patent covering different types of products, the patent will be invalid," the report said.

Apple's patents reportedly covered three products originally. When it was discovered Apple did not specify a product, the nation's patent bureau helped the company register the filing for the iPhone.

Apple's patent applies to the shape of the iPhone — rectangular with round edges, a vertical display, and the singular home button. But Luoen Network Information hopes to prove in its lawsuit that Apple's patented design is too broad. It also argued that MP3 players and phones released before the iPhone had a similar design.

The report noted that the outcome could have an impact on Apple's own pursuit to halt the sale of the Meizu M8 smartphone. Apple has aggressively sought to cease the sale of knock-off products, which are prevalent in China, and attempted to prove in court that the M8 has "an appearance roughly similar" to the iPhone.