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Apple Inc. v. PRC State Administration for Industry and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, Beijing - (04 May 2016)

When an iPhone is not an iPhone

Intellectual Property Rights

The Beijing Higher People’s Court handed an inconveniently timed verdict rejecting Apple’s application for striking out the trade mark ‘iPhone’ granted to a Chinese company.

Xintong Tiandi, the Respondent, had registered the ‘iPhone’ trade mark for 18 classes of goods, including imitation leather bags, umbrellas and walking sticks. It applied for the mark in 2007, soon after Apple released its mobile phone, and in 2010 extended the mark to leather products.

Apple had fought an uphill battle from the very off, not least considering China’s admirable record of protecting domestic industry by overlooking divisive copying of intellectual property. Its demand for cancellation of the mark had been rejected by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board; and so was the appeal to Beijing’s First Intermediate People’s Court.

Apple can request a retrial before the Supreme People’s Court.


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