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Chinese bureau finds Apple copying smartphone patents with iPhone 6 design

The design of Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is too similar to the 100C phone by Shenzhen Baili, and violates that company's patents, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled on Friday.

The decision only affects Beijing for the moment, and Apple may still be able to sell iPhone 6 models while it files an appeal, Bloomberg reported. The company is in fact said to have several means of fighting any possible sales ban, such as the Beijing Higher People's Court or the Supreme People's Court.

Apple didn't comment on the matter, but needs to appeal not just because of the prospect of losing sales in a major city, but the precedent such a ruling could have elsewhere in China. The company has already filed a lawsuit to try and quash the ruling, according to CRI.

The country has sometimes proven a tough battleground for Apple in terms of patents and trademarks. Just this year the company lost exclusive rights to the "iPhone" name, and in 2012 it had to pay out $60 million to settle a dispute over the "iPad" trademark. The company does sometimes win battles in the region, however.

The point of the Baili case could become moot by the end of 2016. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have already largely been sidelined by Apple in favor of the iPhone 6s and the iPhone SE, and this fall the company is expected to launch next-generation devices that could bump the iPhone 6 series out of its product lineup.