Beijing bans iPhone 6, saying it's too similar to Chinese phone

All Apple products still for sale in China: Source
All Apple products still for sale in China: Source

Intellectual property regulators in Beijing barred Apple from selling models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the city, citing strong similarity to an existing Chinese phone.

Apple appealed the injunction in May, when a lower court judgement was announced.

"IPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE models are all available for sale today in China," Apple said in a statement Friday. "We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court."

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Friday that some stores stopped selling the phones months ago and are switching to newer models. Apple will soon end production of the banned iPhone 6 models, a person familiar with the production plans told the Journal.

The regulator said iPhone models infringed on the patents of 100C mobile phones. The announcement is another speed bump for Apple in its largest market outside of the U.S.,the Journal said. Struggling iPhone sales in the country were a major factor in the tech giant's quarterly decline posted in April, the first in more than a decade.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn sold his position in Apple after the company's disappointing earnings, telling CNBC recently that China's attitude toward Apple drove him to exit his position.

"You worry a little bit — and maybe more than a little — about China's attitude," Icahn told CNBC, adding that China's government could "come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there."

John Rutledge, Chief Investment Strategist at SAFANAD told CNBC's "Closing Bell" that "this is a patent filed in a Beijing court for Beijing only, and it's about the outside look of the phone. It has nothing to do with the technology of the thing."

Rutledge shared similar sentiments on China, stating how "this is not itself a big deal for Apple's profits or cash flows, but it's a sign [along] with many other signs that the climate is worsening there."

This climate, according to Rutledge, is not limited solely to Apple, but "for many other U.S. and European firms too."

China also shut down Apple's iBooks and iTunes movies service in April, as regulators said the company did not have the appropriate licenses, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Apple was down 1.7 percent in early trading Friday.

— CNBC's Josh Lipton contributed to this report.