Little-known Chinese phone vendor says Apple's iPhone 6 may infringe on one of its design patents

Little-known Chinese phone vendor says Apple's iPhone 6 may infringe on one of its design patents
Ever since the first iPhone was launched in 2007, various Chinese companies have been building lookalike handsets, selling them at low prices and making quite a lot of money out of it. Now, in a surprising turn of events, a China-based handset vendor alleges that the design of the iPhone 6 (released by Apple in the second half of September) “may infringe” on one of its design patents.

The Chinese company that we’re talking about is Digione (so it’s not a well-known one), while the patent covers the design of an Android-based smartphone sold by the company’s 100+ brand for around $130. MacWorld has obtained a copy of the patent application, noting that the patent was granted to Digione in July. The patent is valid only in China and does, indeed, depict a device that resembles the iPhone 6. Feature-wise, the device offers a 5.5-inch display, and an octa-core MediaTek processor.

Digione sent a letter to Apple on September 2, when the iPhone 6 hadn’t been officially announced (though we all knew what it would look like). The letter simply informed Apple about the possibility of a future patent infringement, inviting the Cupertino company to “communication with goodwill.” It doesn’t look like Apple responded at all, because Digione recently posted the letter on Weibo (China’s leading microblogging website) for a “chance to tell the truth.” It’s not clear if Digione will sue Apple or not, but we’re going to keep an eye on this to see how things evolve.


sources: Weibo, ScribdMacWorld

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50 Comments

1. hafini_27

Posts: 943; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

Well, can't say I am surprised.

2. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Chinese tactic: Steal secrets from Foxconn employees, scramble to making similar looking phone, release that phone first, sue the original phone maker for ripping off their design.

27. engineer-1701d unregistered

wow thats apples job of stealing then sues all others

31. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

Yes Apple has always copied the chinese. They copied Siri from Chinese and had to pay millions to settle the matter. Looks like another copying from Chinese would land them in trouble. Chinese would rip Apple and that money monger called Cook.

47. HansGoneInsane unregistered

Apple's design was introduced with the latest generation iPod touch in 2013 (? - I don't know exactly when Apple introduced it).

35. Chuck007

Posts: 1409; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Or better yet, copy designs from leaks. Source? Sorry to sound like a D, but websites like PA lol.

43. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

The patent was approved in July 2014, IPhone was announced in September. so the logic is right.

46. HansGoneInsane unregistered

The iPhone's front has always been looking like it is looking now. The rest of the design was introduced with the latest generation iPod touch in 2013 (? - I don't know exactly when Apple introduced it).

48. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

October 11, 2012 for the 5th gen.

45. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Chineses phones use octa-core MediaTek processor and SD card slot, slim bezel. IPhone will never change. now it is the 6th generation.

3. Drsarcastic

Posts: 136; Member since: Jul 23, 2014

Apple fanboys will claim they used a time machine lol... But in all seriousness, it will be interesting to see how this goes.

22. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

dubious claim and small company vs deep pockets of Apple, it won't be interesting where it'll go because it wont go anywhere, and when things go nowhere it isn't interesting at all.

24. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

In China, don't count your chicks before its hatched.

28. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

I'm inclined to agree with you; a Chinese company suing an American company in China? An American company that's been in the Chinese "government's" searchlights for some time?

39. Ashoaib

Posts: 3243; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

american company also sues korean company in america, so its the same

4. gustavoace

Posts: 187; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I don't like apple at all, but iPhone 6 is too similar to iphones 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 5s.... One cannot say that its design is inspireted in anything but its own devices (except maybe that sony prototype). This company just used the leaked pics that dates before july....

12. tedkord

Posts: 17050; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You're forgetting the HTC One M8. The iPhone 6 is s virtual clone of it.

16. gustavoace

Posts: 187; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I'm not quite sure... HTC paid apple so they could use apple design in their products... so maybe M8 (which is closely related to M7) is the one taking inspiration here... again.. I don't like apple and their philosophy, but the facts are there

18. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

From this CNET article, Apple's design patents aren't covered. http://www.cnet.com/news/apples-patent-licensing-pact-with-htc-released-mostly/

32. tiara6918

Posts: 2262; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

thanks for the info about that licensing thing

5. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Then Apple pulls out the iPod touch and the first iphone. After that, it just buys the company and fire all the employees lol!

19. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

So what you're saying is the design hasn't changed in 7 years.

21. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I'd say it circled back around

6. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Samsung should buy this company and sue Apple.

40. Ashoaib

Posts: 3243; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

thats not a bad idea

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 30699; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Oh please.

8. wando77

Posts: 1166; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

All apple has to say is 'we didn't copy, look how big our bezels are'

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 30699; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yawn.

11. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

12517 posts. Yawn. (Seriously, you need to get your game back on.)

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30699; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Are you my new personal troll? You're following me like a little puppy dude. If I feed you will you get lost?

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