China court rules that Xintong can use iPhone name on leather smartphone cases, wallets and purses

“Apple Inc. has lost its fight to keep the ‘iphone’ name exclusive to its products with a Beijing court deciding a little-known accessories maker can use the label for a range of wallets and purses,” David Ramli reports for Bloomberg.

“The ruling affirmed that Xintong Tiandi Technology (Beijing) Ltd. has the right to use the name on a swath of luxury leathergoods, state publication Legal Daily reported,” Ramli reports. “While Apple retains the trademark for mobile devices, it defeats the company’s efforts to gain full ownership of the moniker in the world’s largest mobile market and is the second time it has lost exclusive use in China of a brand name it coined.”

“Xintong holds a Class 18 trademark running the gamut of leather and imitation leather goods, from smartphone cases to products that Apple has never launched like wallets and clutches, Legal Daily said,” Ramli reports. “The court decision upholds a 2013 ruling that centered on the fact that, when the Chinese company sought its trademark in September 2007, the iPhone had only been linked to products outside of China. Apple didn’t start selling its iconic iPhones in the country until 2009, it said.”

“‘Apple could appeal this case to the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing and they probably will,’ said Ted Chwu, a partner and lawyer specializing in intellectual property at Bird & Bird in Hong Kong,” Ramli reports. “While Chinese courts are getting better at understanding intellectual property issues, they are struggling to handle the deluge of applications from all over the world, Chwu said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That ruling is almost as ridiculous as slapping a Xiaomi iPhone knockoff into Xintong “IPHONE” case.

This sounds like another attempt to extract a wildly overpaid “settlement” from Apple, à la iPad.

China to crack down on ‘malicious’ trademark registrations following Apple ‘iPad’ debacle – December 24, 2012
Apple settles China iPad trademark dispute for $60 million – July 2, 2012
Chinese company holding the iPad trademark in trouble, faces liquidation threat – June 21, 2012
Apple wins bid to bar Proview evidence in Hong Kong iPad trademark trial – May 22, 2012
Apple offers Proview $16 million settlement for iPad trademark in China, says source – May 10, 2012
California Judge throws out Proview lawsuit against Apple over iPad trademark – May 8, 2012
Apple pushing for settlement in iPad trademark dispute, says Proview lawyer – May 7, 2012
Chinese court seeks to mediate iPad trademark dispute; settlement ‘likely’ says Proview lawyer – April 24, 2012
Apple in court-recommended talks with Chinese iPad trademark challenger Proview – April 20, 2012
Apple pressures Beijing with iPad snub – April 17, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Vice Premier of China; Proview says ‘political public relations campaign’ – March 28, 2012
Apple: Proview is lying about iPad trademark in China to stave off creditors – March 22, 2012
Major creditor seeks liquidation of Chinese iPad trademark challenger Proview – March 5, 2012
Proview lawyer hopes Apple makes contact for iPad trademark settlement – March 1, 2012
China higher court hears Apple’s iPad trademark appeal – February 29, 2012
Apple iPad trademark case in Shanghai suspended; Proview injunction rejected – February 24, 2012
Proview files lawsuit in California against Apple over iPad trademark – February 24, 2012
Chinese court says Apple can continue selling iPads in Shanghai – February 23, 2012


    1. Apple just isn’t bribing the right officials. Jokes aside, this ruling pretty much says that Apple wasn’t bribing anyone. Bribes are corruption and corruptions must end.

  1. It is astounding to see how governments and corporations around the world disrespect Apple. Coca-Cola’s trademark pinched waist bottles and cans are protected the world over, yet the US Government and others let thieving copiers like Sungsam copy, steal at will with no negative consequences.

  2. Honestly, the same decision would possibly be reached by a US court if Apple had not applied for a trademark in that product class and they could not show they had a product on the market in that class at the time of the first filing by Xintong. If Apple wants it, they will have to pay.

  3. “While Chinese courts are getting better at understanding intellectual property issues, they are struggling to handle the deluge of applications from all over the world, Chwu said.”

    The reason the courts are struggling to handle the deluge might be something to do with China’s incredibly relaxed attitude towards international intellectual property.

  4. Why in the world would you want a purse with the word “iPhone” on it in the first place?! A swanky leather phone case, sure, but then it is fairly obvious, unless you are hiding that fact that you have a knockoff.

  5. Apple has to protect their product names everywhere, and they did not do this to the satisfaction of the Chinese judicial system. This is a failure they can learn from.

    Apple will continue to make billions in China. That should ease the pain.

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