China: Apple Must Share iPhone Name with Xintong Tiandi
Chinese company Xintong Tiandi Technology which sells handbags and other leather goods can continue to use the name “iPhone” after Apple lost the trademark fight in China.
The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled in favor of Xintong Tiandi, the official Legal Daily newspaper reported.
Xintong Tiandi trademarked “IPHONE” for leather products in China in 2010.
Apple filed a trademark bid for the name for electronic goods in 2002, but it was not approved until 2013.
The Legal Daily is widely recognized as the official mouthpiece for China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission. Its report came out in late April but has only just been widely circulated.
Xintong Tiandi sells handbags, mobile phone cases and other leather goods branded with the name “IPHONE” and the “R” registered trademark symbol.
Apple first brought the case against the company to the Chinese trademark authority in 2012. When that failed, Apple filed a lawsuit in a lower Beijing court.
Both ruled against Apple, so the tech giant appealed to the higher court.
The higher court ruled that Apple could not prove it was a well-known brand in China before Xintong Tiandi filed its trademark application in 2007.
Apple iPhones first went on sale in China in 2009.
The ruling comes close to Apple’s latest quarterly earnings report which showed a 13% drop in revenue on slower iPhone sales. Sales in China had plunged by 26%.
Apple is also facing difficulties in other operations in China. In March, Beijing passed a law that required all content shown in China to be stored on servers based on the Chinese mainland.
The move has widely been seen as a blow to Apple as China is the second biggest market for its products.