Apple loses iPhone exclusivity in China

apple-dalek-2Fruity cargo cult, Apple must share the name “iPhone” trademark with a Beijing-based leather products maker Xintong Tiandi Technology (XTT).

The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court rejected an Apple appeal of an earlier ruling, according to Quartz. Xintong Tiandi is already selling a number of “IPHONE” products, including purses, passport cases, and most notably phone cases.

XTT registered its trademark in China in 2007, the same year as the Apple iPhone launched in the United States. But Apple did not register the name in China until five years later. At the time Apple had not seen China as the great white hope for its bottom line.

In 2013 the government ruled that because Apple couldn’t prove the name “IPHONE” was well-known prior to Xintong Tiandi’s registration, the public wouldn’t link its use in a way that would harm Apple interests. In rejecting Apple’s appeal, the High People’s Court further pointed out that Jobs’ Mob didn’t sell the iPhone in mainland China until 2009.

Apple has not been doing well in China. In 2012, for instance, it was ordered to pay $60 million in a trademark dispute over the term “iPad.” In April, two of Apple’s online storefronts — iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store — were shut down by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Chinese are starting to ignore the fruity cargo cult and are starting to buy other cheaper phones instead.