Chinese iPhone 5 copy may block patent on real thing

By Peter Gothard
07 Sep 2012 View Comments
goophone

Chinese smartphone maker GooPhone has been showing off promotional videos of its upcoming GooPhone 5. But to anyone who has been keeping their eye on leaked prototypes of Apple's next iPhone handset, it may look eerily familiar.

The GooPhone appears to be based as closely as possible on all existing iPhone 5 resources thought to be of Apple origin. This is nothing particularly new in the no-holds-barred world of eastern counterfeiting, but the difference this time is that the GooPhone 5 may well have beaten its muse to the patent office.

Further reading

According to Gizchina.com, GooPhone has made just this proclamation concerning its smartphone, which seems to feature all the rumoured "iPhone 5" features, including an oversized screen and a smaller dock port.

Even though it runs Android, the phone is even said to include a crack for the operating system which gives it the aesthetic appearance of iOS 6.

GooPhone, which is the smartphone arm of Shenzhen Shenma Lianzhong e-Commerce, also seems to be cloning the Samsung Galaxy S3 in a similar way. Additionally, the company's corporate website features a model called the "AK47", which strongly resembles the Galaxy S.

So-called "patent trolling" – the act of companies deliberately trying to file patents on ideas taken from others before the originator gets the chance – and action like it is becoming an increasingly serious problem for Apple in China. In July, Apple paid out $60m (£38m) to another Shenzen-based tech company – Proview – to settle a dispute over ownership of the iPad.

Before the case went to court, Proview had been requesting the removal of iPads from the shelves of stores in major cities, damaging the launch window sales period for the iPad 3, and effectively forcing Apple to settle in order to maximise the tablet's growth potential among the relatively new Chinese audience.

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