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Apple confirms it will appeal iPhone trademark decision in China

by Killian Bell | May 5, 2016May 5, 2016 5:03 am PST

iPhone 6s and Plus Color Comparison Space Black Gold Rose-3

Apple has confirmed it will appeal a recent ruling from a Chinese court that gives a local company the right to use the “iPhone” name on its accessories. In a statement, company insists it will “continue to vigorously protect” its trademark rights.

“We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People’s Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights,” reads Apple’s statement to the South China Morning Post, which was issued just a day after the ruling.

“Apple is disappointed the Beijing Higher People’s Court chose to allow Xintong to use the IPHONE mark for leather goods when we have prevailed in several other cases against Xintong,” it continued.

Xintong has been stamping the “IPHONE” name onto all kinds of leather goods — including smartphone and laptop cases — since 2010, three years after Apple announced the very first iPhone.

Apple does have a trademark on the iPhone name, but because it only applies to electrical goods, it doesn’t cover the products produced by Xintong. As a result, the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled that Xintong could continue to use it without punishment.

The judge argued that although the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, it wasn’t a well-known brand in China until 2009, when it made its debut there.

We noted on Wednesday that Apple would probably appeal this decision — as it often does when it is unsuccessful in court. But it’s unclear whether it will have any success. The good news is, other companies cannot legally use the iPhone name on other smartphones or gadgets.

CNBC 9to5Mac

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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