Chinese clothing label sues Apple, says App Store logo breaks copyright

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in iPhone
A Chinese clothing brand, Kon, is suing Apple for copyright infringement, claiming that the logo for the iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra App Stores too closely resembles its own.




Kon is demanding financial compensation and a public apology, as well as an injunction against infringing devices, Phone Radar said on Tuesday. The case was filed through a Beijing court, and a judgment will allegedly be rendered within the next few weeks.

Both logos share a triangular "stick" design. The current App Store emblem is an abstract version of an earlier one, in which the sticks were a pencil, brush, and ruler.

The close similarity of the logos could make the lawsuit unusually difficult for Apple. A strong possibility is that Apple will choose to settle, as it eventually did in the matter of a Chinese leather goods company using the "iPhone" name.

A deal would likely allow Apple to keep using the latest App Store graphics in iOS, macOS, and related marketing. The company could revert, but would have to spend millions of dollars in rebranding.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    Well...



    By the way, this is actually one of their shirts. LOL! (Source: http://www.itskon.com/konxmandrill/ )

    Apple should not hire graphic designers who are in China, maybe? Respect for copyrighted materials is virtually nonexistent there.
    edited December 2017 airnerd
  • Reply 2 of 61
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    StrangeDaysbonobobleptonHeliBummdriftmeyerrandominternetpersonwlymwatto_cobraairnerdjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 61
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    Yes, of course it would be a trademark infringement case... unless in China copyright laws also cover trademarks.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 4 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    According to this legal source you can copyright a logo in China.
    https://www.fbrice.com.au/publication/Reasons_for_registering_Copyright_in_China.aspx

    Even in the US I thought you could copyright a logo as long as it's creative enough, but maybe something has been changed? I often apply copyright notification to ornate logos. Obviously a simple "A" would not qualify Stateside.
    edited December 2017 SpamSandwichSolirevenantronnairnerdretrogusto
  • Reply 5 of 61
    gatorguy said:
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    According to this legal source you can copyright a logo in China.
    https://www.fbrice.com.au/publication/Reasons_for_registering_Copyright_in_China.aspx
    That was sort of what I assumed. Thanks for digging up a source.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 6 of 61
    gatorguy said:
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    According to this legal source you can copyright a logo in China.
    https://www.fbrice.com.au/publication/Reasons_for_registering_Copyright_in_China.aspx

    Even in the US I thought you could copyright a logo as long as it's creative enough, but maybe something has been changed? I often apply copyright notification to ornate logos. Obviously a simple "A" would not qualify Stateside.
    Thanks for that. I'm obviously not familiar with Chinese law. I was reading another site regarding trademark law in China. In China, you can trademark something and not have to prove it's being used in commerce. So this Kon company can technically trademark their logo in China for things it doesn't sell. China doesn't have a use requirement like we do in the U.S. for trademarks. 

    EDIT: Logos really fall under trademark law but the laws do overlap and become a gray area. So yes, logos can fall under copyright law but where it gets confusing is when a logo falls under both copyright and trademark laws. 
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 7 of 61
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    That is not how Chinese "courts" work, though. Connections and money determine how and when a violation has happened.
    SpamSandwichstompyEsquireCatsviclauyyc
  • Reply 8 of 61
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    That is not how Chinese "courts" work, though. Connections and money determine how and when a violation has happened.
    Low and mid-level corruption in China can make  others look like amateurs, but when it comes to high-level corruption, they’re all pretty much the same. ;)
    anantksundaramwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 61
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,856member
    How about all the Chinese Android smartphone copycat companies using app icons that too closely resemble iPhone apps?  I see the phone app looks so much like iPhone phone app.  Infac, even the color is the same. 
    magman1979RobPalmer9racerhomie3watto_cobrabadmonkairnerdjbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 61
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    That is not how Chinese "courts" work, though. Connections and money determine how and when a violation has happened.
    You have a point there. 
  • Reply 11 of 61
    This company is just looking for a payday, or some cheap publicity.

    They’ll spend money on attorneys but they will not prevail. 
    RobPalmer9watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 61
    tzeshan said:
    How about all the Chinese Android smartphone copycat companies using app icons that too closely resemble iPhone apps?  I see the phone app looks so much like iPhone phone app.  Infac, even the color is the same. 
    If any of those phone companies entered the U.S. market, I would imagine Apple would sue. It's probably not worth the money and effort for Apple to file a lawsuit in China with how corrupt they are. Lots of these companies are partially state owned so you probably already know the outcome of that if Apple sued. 
    bb-15
  • Reply 13 of 61
    According the The Verge, Kon is basing the lawsuit on owning the trademark, not the copyright. However, I'm not so sure they have a basis for suing even in China. Logos based on triangles that are constructed of various shapes are not unusual at all, so the fact that Apple's logo is contained within a box, has a different color scheme, and also different shapes to make the triangle...not sure it's close enough. For example, the Amblin Resources logo is pretty similar to both of those logos and obviously came before both (1988). http://www.logobook.com/shape/triangle/page/2/
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 14 of 61
    No wonder I got confused. I thought that logo on my phone was for a clothing store. I tried to buy a shirt and all I could find was fart apps. 
    bonobobchiaflashfan207coolfactorrandominternetpersonRobPalmer9stompyentropyswlymracerhomie3
  • Reply 15 of 61
    According the The Verge, Kon is basing the lawsuit on owning the trademark, not the copyright. However, I'm not so sure they have a basis for suing even in China. Logos based on triangles that are constructed of various shapes are not unusual at all, so the fact that Apple's logo is contained within a box, has a different color scheme, and also different shapes to make the triangle...not sure it's close enough. For example, the Amblin Resources logo is pretty similar to both of those logos and obviously came before both (1988). http://www.logobook.com/shape/triangle/page/2/
    I don't see how this is even a case. The App Store logo, while changed to a simpler design, predates the existence of Kon. Plus, how could there possibly be monetary damages? Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    RobPalmer9
  • Reply 16 of 61
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,405member
    Funny... a company in the one one country that is at the epicenter of just about every IP ripoff and knockoff wants an apology?  Worst case they win, the only "apology" Apple should give is a middle finger.

    Speaking of ripoffs, perhaps we should be demanding "apologies" from these Chinese folks as well?

    coolfactor
  • Reply 17 of 61
    And there I was the other day looking a my little screen trying to find the App Store icon and after finding it thinking. Wow couldn’t Apple with all its artistic prowess come up with a better icon? Just saying.....
    Push 11.2.1 (16C153)..... done!
  • Reply 18 of 61
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,621member
    Technically this isn't copyright infringement since you can't copyright a logo. You can only trademark a logo. I don't see how this company has a case since Apple isn't selling clothes. 
    This is China. Who says you can’t copyright a logo in China? Are you a Chinese copyright lawyer?

    The Chinese know they have Apple by the short hairs. Apple basically has no choice but to manufacture there and the Chinese consumer market is vital for their profitability so Apple is stuck and vulnerable to the whims of the government and its courts. Like parasitic lamprey sucker fish they see Apple as a tasty host to suck the blood out of, living just enough blood so as not to kill the host.
    edited December 2017 anantksundaram
  • Reply 19 of 61
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,422member

    Change an app icon from a pencil, paint brush and a rule to 3 popsicle stick now makes it close to 3 rectangle to create market confusion. Yep I am buying it.

    Now of this maters since we dealing with China and they lack legal history and precedence of 100's of years which the US has, they will make it up as they go and decide in favor of a Chinese company. This is too small for the Chinese court to give it to Apple. You can you use US logic and laws to argue what will happen in China.

  • Reply 20 of 61
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,621member
    Speaking of Chinese ripoffs...

    tallest skilRobPalmer9StrangeDaysanantksundaramanton zuykovrepressthis
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