Apple looses the rights to the term "IPHONE" in China

Foreign markets are increasingly important for Apple following its revenue dip, but the company has now lost the rights to the term IPHONE in China

Apple’s foreign market woes may have just doubled; following a recent loss in the Chinese market, the company has now lost the exclusive rights to sell products branded as IPHONE in China.
Specifically, Apple still retains its rights to the term “iPhone” styled traditionally, but the company has lost a legal battle against a Beijing company which markets its leather products under the brand name “IPHONES”.
Read: Welcome to Shenzhen: China‘s tech capital
The court’s ruling is the conclusion of a four year long legal battle against Chinese accessory manufacturer Xintong Tiandi Technology.
Apple first filed for the trademark “IPHONE” in 2002, whereafter Xintong Tiandi filed for the same term in 2007.
The legal decision to award the term “IPHONE” to Xintong Tiandi was grounded on the basis that Apple only began selling iPhones in mainland China in 2009, two years after its Chinese opponent had filed for the term.
The Chinese Municipal Court’s decision was therefore made in the light that it couldn’t prove that Apple was widely associated with the “IPHONE” moniker prior to Xintong Tiandi’s use of the term.
Most recently, Apple suffered a 13% revenue dip – the company’s first amid a 13 year winning streak. Apple‘s expansion into China sustained injury, which saw a 26% decline in revenue ““ a similar trend across all regions of the world save for Japan, which saw 24% growth.
The Chinese Municipal Court’s decision will place Xintong Tiandi in an unprecedented position above Apple, leaving it with the rights to an incredible valuable term in the Chinese smartphone market – a region where Apple is the 3rd largest smartphone manufacturer.
Read: Apple earnings decline for the first time since 2003
What are your thoughts on Apple loosing the rights to the term “IPHONE” in China? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA
Source: Legal Daily