Apple Inc. Loses “iPhone” Branding Court Battle Against Chinese Leather Goods Company

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iPhone could now be used by a Chinese handbags company and the Cupertino company cannot do anything about it

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has lost a trademark suit in China against Xintong Tiandi Technology, a leather goods company based in Beijing, over the “iPhone” brand name. As such, the Chinese company now has complete rights to use the name of Apple’s iOS device for its leather handbags, smartphone cases, and other handheld leather products.

“IPHONE” was registered by Xintong Tiandi in China in 2007 under leather products. Even though this happened five years after Apple registered the same brand for its own company under the science and technology category, the Chinese authorities have not sided with the Cupertino firm in these past years to help save its trademark.

No difference in the “I” in both iPhone and IPHONE was noted by the Beijing court, stating that the general public is unlikely to link the two products with the identical name due to the completely different nature of the two businesses and their products. Commenting on the judgement passed in its favor, Xintong Tiandi stated on its website that the decision is reflective of the free market in the country, and that both companies can work together to provide more benefits to iPhone customers.

However absurd it may seem, Apple is not the only company with legal rights to the name “iPhone” in China, not after the ruling by the Beijing court. You may argue that the two names are different, but by doing so are you may be contradicting the Chinese people’s court. We’re having difficulty writing this with a straight face and you may have an ear-to-ear grin on your face right now, but no, you are not reading a spoof piece based on the Chinese market. Apple really has lost the iPhone name rights in China.

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