Let me get this straight. The Goophone I5 copies the iPhone 5 design. Then, said Chinese knockoff manufacturer patents the stolen design before the iPhone 5 is even released. The result, Goophone threatens to block the sale of the iPhone 5 in China based on their bogus patent. Patent insanity, anyone, anyone?
Perhaps this is some sort of cosmic justice, but if so, it’s terribly thoughtless and even more ludicrous, dare I say, than Apple’s suits against Samsung. Goophone is well known for their fakes. The knockoff Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One S and iPhone 4 are doing just fine in China.
Apple gets tangled in a lot of these sorts of disputes in China, but this one takes the cake. Stealing a design then patenting it? In the U.S., bad as the patent system is, Goophone’s patent would not stand. According to Robin Feldman, Professor of Law at UC Hastings, “If this behavior had occurred in the United States, Apple would have an action for misappropriation of trade secrets.”
Apple may have a loop hole in Goophone’s patent. The Goophone I5 has a 3.5 inch display instead of the 4 inch display many expect to see on the iPhone 5. Either way, Apple will most likely try to strong arm their way out of this one. China is, afterall, one of their favorite markets.