Chinese Patent Troll Takes on Apple

For years now western countries have been complaining about the lack of enforcement of intellectual property laws in China.  Well, that may be changing if this recent case is any indicator.  A Chinese company has recently sued Apple for patent infringement on a number of different patents it has amassed in its patent portfolio.

Chinese company BYD has sued Apple and five other companies in the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court for patent infringement related to the antennae in the iPhone 6 as well as other technology.  BYD has asked the court to order Apple to stop manufacture and assembly of the iPhones as a result of the alleged infringement.

BYD has stated that it owns over 12,000 patents in China and roughly 8000 internationally.  This infringement suit against Apple could be critical to Apple’s ability to manufacture phones and other Apple products in China.  China is where a significant majority of Apple products are made.  This action may seriously hamper Apple’s manufacturing and supply chain and may force it to diversify its manufacturing and assembly sites worldwide.

What’s the take away here?  BYD has managed to create a significant patent portfolio and is positioned itself to challenge Apple.  Any intellectual property portfolio must be managed in a strategic way so as to meet the business goals of the organization.  

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