A Chinese manufacturer has already copied — and may have patented — the new iPhone design, according to a recent report. The Goophone I5, an Android-based smartphone released in late August, closely matches leaked images of the new iPhone, and Gizchina reports that GooPhone claims to have patented the design in China ahead of the next-generation iPhone’s launch.
Gizchina speculates that Goophone’s alleged patent could prevent Apple from selling the new iPhone in China, and it may even mean that Goophone could block new iPhone exports. As hard to believe as this may be, Apple has previously faced legal challenges due to manipulation of the Chinese legal system, most notably settling a lawsuit with a company that negotiated in bad faith over the “iPad” trademark. [via Wired]