alerts us to the bizarre story that a Chinese phone knockoff maker, who took some supposed "leaked" photos of the still unannounced iPhone 5 and not only produced a knockoff device
called the Goophone I5 (running Android, naturally), but also is claiming to already have a Chinese patent
on the design.
Of course, we've talked about Chinese manufacturers creating rather interesting mashups
of phone ideas by ignoring patent, trademark and copyright laws (sometimes all at once!). And the decision to file for a design patent is made that much more amusing when you consider how design patents were at the center of some of Apple's big case against Samsung (for the non-patent nerds out there, design patents are a bit different than what most people traditionally think of as patents, and some actually suggest that they're really closer to trademarks than "patents" in that they really just cover a basic design look and feel, rather than a method or process).
That said, the details of this "Chinese patent" are a bit sketchy. Was it just applied for? Or granted? No one seems to be saying. It could just be a joke. That said, we've been noting for quite some time that while the US has been pushing China to respect patents a lot more (due to lobbying pressure from US companies), China has been mocking them all by suddenly "enforcing" patents much more stringently... but almost always against
foreign companies and to benefit Chinese competitors. So, it's not completely crazy to suggest that a Chinese company might be able to secure such a patent and use it to stop Apple, though it would take a fair amount of chutzpah (or whatever the Chinese equivalent is) to make such a claim.