Apple loses China iPhone brand row

Apple has lost a legal battle with a Chinese company over the use of the iPhone name on wallets and handbags.

A court in Beijing said Apple failed to prove iPhone was a “famous brand” in China before the local company applied for a trademark in 2007, an official legal newspaper reported.

Such status under Chinese law might limit its use on other products.

The ruling in late April allows Xintong Tiandi Technology to keep using the iPhone name, according to the Legal Daily, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s legal affairs committee.

The company registered the name for use on handbags, mobile phone cases, and other leather goods.

No comment was available from the Beijing Higher Level People’s Court.

China is Apple’s second-biggest market after the United States, though first-quarter sales in the Greater China region fell 26% from a year earlier.

Apple’s iTunes and iBooks services have also been suspended in China, though the company said last month that it hopes to resume operations soon.

Apple applied to trademark iPhone for computer- and software-related goods in 2002, according to the Legal Daily.

Xintong Tiandi applied to use the name on wallets and leather goods two years before Apple’s smartphones went on sale in China in 2009, it said.

Apple filed a lawsuit in 2012 challenging the Chinese company’s use of the iPhone name.


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