Apple has lost exclusive ownership of the “iPhone” name in China. The company has lost a trademark suit against a Chinese company, which now holds the right to make and sell handbags and other leather products branded “IPHONE,” reports Quartz.
The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court rejected Apple’s appeal of the trademark dispute against Xintong Tiandi Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. on Mar. 31, the article adds. The final judgement allows the Beijing company to brand leather products including handbags, purses, and cellphone and passport cases with the name “IPHONE.”
Xintong Tiandi Technology,applied to register its trademark on the name -- in the category of leather goods -- in 2007. While Apple filed its own "iPhone" trademark in 2002, that application wasn't approved until 2013.
According to a 2013 ruling from the Chinese trademark authority, since Apple couldn’t prove that “IPHONE” was already a well-known trademark in China before Xintong Tiandi registered it in 2007, “the general public will not link the trademark in dispute with Apple to harm its [Apple’s] interests.”