Apple has lost its exclusive rights to the name iPhone in China. A Chinese bag manufacturer may now use the name iPhone for its products.
The Silicon valley giant has been in a legal struggle with the Chinese company Xintong Tiandi since 2012. Apple had sued the company because it puts the name “iPhone” on its handbags, carrying cases and other leather products. China’s Supreme Court has now rejected Apple’s complaint.
Although Apple already filed for the trademark “iPhone” in China in 2002, it was only granted in 2013, and only for electrical appliances. Xintong Tiandi filed its application in 2007, but it was registered in 2010, for leather goods.
In 2013 a Chinese court refused to withdraw Xintong Tiandi’s trademark, because Apple’s iPhone was not well-known enough in the region where the brand operates.
This statement is now confirmed by the Chinese Supreme Court, noting that the Apple iPhone has been available in China only since 2009.
The end result: Xintong Tiandi can now use the name “iPhone” in China for leather goods. We note that this of course also includes tablet and smartphone covers.
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