Apple (AAPL $95.63) was in the news almost a week ago for infringing on a design patent held by a Chinese smartphone manufacturer called Shenzhen Baili. Now we’ve learned that the Chinese company “barely exists.” Shenzhen Baili claimed the iPhone 6 violated a patent for its 100c smartphone.
Shenzhen Baili has no office, no website
The Wall Street Journal inquired about Shenzhen Baili and its parent Digione in response to the former’s patent lawsuit and found that the Chinese company had collapsed. According to former employees and investors, the company was brought down by buggy products, fierce competition and mismanagement. Apparently Digione has not been present in the Chinese mobile phone market for nearly a year.
Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co. did not answer phone calls, and its websites have been taken down. Further, no company offices were found when three registered addresses were visited, the WSJ claimed.
“Baili and its parent, Digione, are part of a rapid boom and bust in China’s new wave of smartphone makers,” the WSJ said. In December 2014, Baili had a team of experienced executives, a big-name investor in Chinese Internet giant Baidu, and bold aspirations when it took on the U.S. firm, telling Chinese regulators that the Silicon Valley giant’s new models infringed on its smartphone design patents.
The suit against the tech giant was always more a marketing ploy than a serious court case, said former employees of the company.
Will continue to fight Apple (AAPL)
According to Digione lawyer Andy Yang, Shenzhen Baili plans to continue the battle with the Cupertino-based giant through its pending appeal process, and the company is still operational in its necessary functions. The patent infringement claim was originally filed by the company in December 2014 after the release of the iPhone 6, but the case reached the court system in Beijing only recently.
The financial records of Baili and its parent company disclose that both are insolvent despite their assertion to continue going after the tech giant. According to their financial records, the company’s debts greatly exceed its total assets.
Previously, the Chinese company requested an injunction on sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China. Beijing’s intellectual property regulator granted the request. The property office released a statement saying that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have minor differences from Baili’s 100C. The statement further reads that the differences are so tiny that the average consumer could not notice and hence, this case falls into the patent rights protection category. The Cupertino-based giant was able to wrangle a stay on the ruling for the moment.