large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

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”.

Watch our iPhone SE review:

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

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.