Friday, May 6, 2016

Apple Loses Trademark Fight Over iPhone Name in China


Apple Lost Trademark Fight in China

Apple has lost a trademark fight in China which means that the firm that tends to sell handbags together with the other leather goods can continue using the name `iPhone’ and the `R’ registered trademark symbol. According to the official Legal Daily newspaper, the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court had ruled in favour of Xintong Tiandi Technology.

 Xintong Tiandi, in 2010 had trademarked `iPhone’ for leather products. In 2002, Apple had filed a trademark bid for the name for electronic goods but the same had not been approved till 2013. The Legal Daily, in Chinese, is extensively recognised as the official spokesperson for the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the country and its report had come out in late April though it had only just been widely circulated.

Apple had first bought the case against the company to the Chinese trademark authority in 2012 then when that failed had filed a lawsuit in a lower Beijing court. However, both had ruled against Apple and so it had appealed to the higher court. The higher court ruled that Apple could not prove that it was a popular brand in China before Xintong Tiandi had filed its trademark application in 2007.

Apple Facing Problems in Other Operations

Apple iPhone had first gone on sale in China in 2009. The decision comes close to the latest quarterly earnings report of Apple which indicated a 13% drop in revenue on slower iPhone sales and sales had dropped by 26% in China.

Apple has also been facing problems in other operations in China. Beijing had passed a law in March which required all content shown in China to be stored on servers established on the Chinese mainland. As a consequence iBooks and iTunes services of Apple were shut down in the country. Apple had mentioned that it expected access to the service would be restored quickly.

This move had been seen as a blow to Apple since China seems to be the second biggest market for its products. Carl Icahn, billionaire investor had recently sold all his shares in Apple due to concerns regarding the technology firm’s predictions in China.

Apple Credited for Popularizing iPhone

According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple and Xintong Tiandi had also earlier knocked each other. The U.S. firm had won at least five distinct iPhone-related trademark disputes against Xintong Tiandi in other categories like rubber products as well as advertising services. At least from Xintong Tiandi’s side there does not seem to be any hard feeling regarding the lawsuit. Mr Xiong had stated that his company would be open to any kind of commercial cooperation with Apple in the near future.

The Chinese firm, in a press release had also credited Apple with popularizing the iPhone name and in turn contributed to the success of Xintong Tiandi. Xintong Tiandi had mentioned in the release which had been posted online by PRNewswire and verified by Mr Xiong that the successful commercial operation and marketing of Apple had made `’iPhone the symbol of high tech and fashion.

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