Apple has now lost its monopoly in word ÂiPhoneÂ which has been allowed to be used by a handbag and leather goods maker in China.
The Beijing Municipal Higher PeopleÂs Court of Final Appeal ruled against Apple in a recent lawsuit.
Apple was battling Beijing-based Xintong Tiandi, which sells leather goods like smartphone cases and handbags under the name ÂIPHONE.Â The Court ruled in Xintong Tiandi TechnologyÂs favour.
In 2002, Apple applied for the ÂiPhoneÂ trade mark in China (which was not granted until 2013). Five years earlier, in 2007 (the same year the iPhone launched), Xintong Tiandi filed for its own ÂIPHONEÂ trade mark. Xintong Tiandi was granted the trademark in the area of ÂLeather goodsÂ in 2010
Apple first sued in 2012, but the Chinese courts ruled against the company, claiming that since the iPhone wasnÂt actually sold in mainland China until 2009, it couldnÂt prove that ÂiPhoneÂ was a well-known trade name.
And now the appellate court agrees. Which means that Xintong Tiandi can continue to sell leather goods embossed with the ÂIPHONEÂ brand.
Apple is disappointed (as you can imagine) that the Beijing Higher PeopleÂs Court chose to allow Xintong to use the IPHONE mark for leather goods when we have prevailed in several other cases against Xintong. We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People’s Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trade mark rights.
We work hard to make the best products in the world and want to ensure our customers’ experience is not compromised by companies who try to profit from using our brand.
It should be noted that Xintong is only able to use the “IPHONE” trade mark on leather goods. It cannot use the mark for electronics, including phones.Â