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Apple loses iPhone trademark battle in China

Apple has failed in its bid to secure the “iPhone” trademark in China.

As a result, another company is now free to use the branding, despite the iPhone being one of Apple’s best-selling products of all time.

Apple originally applied for the local trademark in 2007, the year that the very first iPhone launched.

But a Beijing court has ruled that the iPhone wasn’t a “famous brand” when the application was filed. That’s because Apple didn’t start selling iPhones in China until 2009.

That means that local Chinese firm Xintong Tiandi Technology will retain the right to use the “iPhone” name on leather goods, such as mobile phone cases, wallets and handbags – in China, anyway.

Apple originally applied for the iPhone trademark for computer hardware and software in China in 2002, which was approved in 2013. But the trademark doesn’t extend beyond tech, which allowed Xintong Tiandi to trademark the term for leather goods in 2007.

Related: iPhone 7

This isn’t the first time that Apple has faced trademarking issues. In 2012, the company paid $60 million to end a legal battle over the iPad trademark in China.

And only last year, the owner of the “iWatch” trademark sued Apple for “systematically using iWatch wording on Google search engine in order to direct customers to its own website, advertising Apple Watch”.

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Do you think China is right to deny Apple’s “iPhone” trademark from extending beyond technology goods? Let us know in the comments.

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