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Apple loses iPhone trademark tussle with Chinese leather goods maker

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By John Glenday, Reporter

May 4, 2016 | 2 min read

Apple has lost an iPhone trademark dispute with a Chinese leather goods manufacturer after a Beijing Court ruled that Xintong Tiandi Technology could continue to use the disputed name on its range of handbags, phone cases and wallets.

The manufacturer filed its trademark for the term ‘iPHONE’ for use in leather products back in 2007 with the application being approved in 2010, overlapping with Apple’s own trademark bid for its flagship brand, first filed in 2002 but not approved until 2013.

Apple has lost a succession of court battles to prevent Xintong Tiandi from using the ‘iPHONE’ name on its goods with the American firm being rebuffed each time on the grounds that iPhone was not a household term in China at the time of the initial application in 2007.

In fact iPhone’s were not made available to the Chinese market until 2009.

In recent days Apple has been rocked by a succession of bad news stories from China where it has reported a plunge in sales of 26 per cent in its latest earnings report. The firm is also battling to comply with new legislation mandating that all content shown in China must be stored on servers located on the Chinese mainland.

This has forced Apple to temporarily deactivate its iTunes and iBooks services whilst it builds capacity.

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