Apple Inc. has been facing a lot of problems in China, which is a difficult market for Western companies. The U.S. tech giant is being sued in Beijing by a local production center over a propaganda war movie. The lawsuit, filed by Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center, alleges that the iPhone marker infringed plaintiff’s exclusive online rights to broadcast a film, The Associated Press reported.
The film, which was first shown in 1994, is about Chinese fight against Japanese soldiers in northern China in the early 1930s, according to the report.
Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center is also taking legal action against Heyi Information and Technology (Beijing) Company Ltd., which developed and operated the Youku HD app that was used to display the film.
The Youku HD app, available on Apple’s App Store, is sold by Youku.com, according to information on Apple’s iTunes site. Owned by Youku Tudou, a listed company on the New York Stock Exchange, the Youku HD app is one of the best known movie and TV program streaming sites in China.
Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center says that it suffered “huge economic losses,” according to the Beijing Haidian District People’s Court, which accepted the case under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
The plaintiff is seeking compensation of 50,000 yuan ($7,500) plus its “reasonable expenditure” of 20,158 yuan ($3,000) in attempting to stop the infringement of its rights. The production center also wants the two companies to immediately stop broadcasting the film, the AP reported.
Apple Sued in China and Florida Last Month
Last month, Shenzhen, China-based Baili sued Apple Inc. for stealing design for iPhone 6. The small Chinese company accused the U.S. tech giant of infringing the patent right of its smartphone, dubbed as 100C. After a court ruling, Beijing Intellectual Property Office ordered the U.S. tech giant to stop selling its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the country. The iPhone maker, however, quickly made an appeal to a higher court, which allowed it to continue selling the iPhone 6 line until the court ruling. Apple and its Chinese distributor Zhongfu Telecom were accused of copying the exterior design of Baili’s 100C smartphone.
At the end of June, a Florida resident who claimed to invent the iPhone filed a lawsuit against Apple. The plaintiff, Thomas Ross, is seeking more than $10 billion in damages from the Cupertino-based company for infringing on a concept he invented over 20 years ago.
Ross accused Apple of stealing his ideas to create the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod. The case was filed with the Florida Southern District Court on June 27. In addition to over $10 billion in damages, the plaintiff is also seeking a royalty of up to 1.5% on Apple’s worldwide sales of infringing devices.
During the first quarter, billionaire investor Carl Icahn unloaded his entire stake in Apple Inc. , citing the risk of China’s influence on the stock.
“I don’t think anybody can tell you that China is not going to have a problem, even though it might be a very small one,” Icahn told CNBC. He also said that China’s government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there… you can do pretty much what you want there.”