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Apple loses exclusive rights to ‘iPhone’ name in China

This has to be one of the strangest legal battles of the year, but Apple has now lost a case against a company in China selling its products using the iPhone name.

No, these products aren’t smartphones in the same vein as Apple’s, but rather a range of quite fetching smartphone cases, bags, wallets, and other leather products.

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Chinese company Xintong Tiandi was awarded the rights to use the name IPHONE on its products back in 2010.

As Apple couldn’t prove that it was an established brand in the Chinese market prior to Xintong Tlandi’s reservation of the name (it only began selling products in China in 2009), Apple subsequently lost the case in both the country’s Beijing Lower court, and High Court.

This isn’t the first batch of legal argy-bargy Apple has faced this year though. The FBI and the Cupertino-based company were earlier this year embattled regarding the unlocking of one of the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhones. Apple refused to unlock the device, however, the FBI has since cracked the phone, and dropped all complaints against Apple.

Ultimately, this relatively small naming rights matter has some possibly big implications for Apple in the world’s largest economy.

Experiencing its first genuine loss in its existence, Apple’s revenues dropped by 13% year-on-year, with Chinese sales down a quarter and its shares are currently losing footing on a slippery slope. That’s not good news for the company, struggling to push phones in its second largest sales domain.

Although it’s simply losing its exclusive rights to the name, the latest ruling against Apple will likely make it even more difficult for the company to market, or worse, sell its phones in China.

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