New details in 'iPhone' trademark case punctuate Apple's ongoing legal problems in China

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2016
Weeks after Apple saw its bid for exclusive Chinese rights to the "iPhone" trademark dashed in court, new information illustrates the battle the company faces in dealing with China's laws.




Citing 2001 trademark law, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court in March rejected Apple's legal appeal to secure exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, upholding the mark as registered by Beijing-based leather goods maker Xintong Tiandi Technology in 2007.

A lawyer for Xintong said the company actually acquired the rights from a Russian company in 2011, The New York Times reported Wednesday. In fact, the leather goods manufacturer was established that same year.

Still, Xintong's acquired "IPHONE" trademark No. 6,304,198 holds a filing date of 2007. And since the "iPhone" name was not ubiquitous or "renowned" at the time -- the device launched in the U.S. three months prior -- Apple has no grounds for argument under Chinese law.

The definition of what qualifies as "renowed" is, of course, subjective. When it launched in China in 2009 through a deal with China Unicom, the device sold like hotcakes. By 2011, the iPhone had become the preferred smartphone for Chinese trendsetters and was thus very well known.

As for Apple, the company initially submitted a Chinese trademark application for "IPHONE" on Oct. 18, 2002, and received a registration by Nov 21, 2003. A separate trademark for "i-phone" was filed in 2004. Apple caught wind of what would become Xintong's mark in 2010, when that application was published, and moved to oppose its registration in 2012.

China's Trademark Review and Adjudication Board denied two Apple complaints citing the 2007 registration date. The Municipal People's Court found similarly on appeal. Apple has vowed to take the issue to China's Supreme People's Court. Apple has "prevailed in several other cases against Xintong" under similar circumstances, company spokesperson Carolyn Wu told The Times.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    edited May 2016 jbdragonrepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 22
    In the PRC all roads lead back to the One Party. No matter what organisation you talk to, it's nothing more than a mouthpiece for the One Party.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Tim, think about reducing Apple's overreliance on China and get those robots up and running.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 22
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Tim, think about reducing Apple's overreliance on China and get those robots up and running.
    I agree.

    In the future, robots are going to solve many problems in general, not just for Apple.

    Maybe that can lead to more American manufacturing also. Unlike the workers, it's not like a Chinese robot can be paid less than an American robot. They'll both make the same income, zero. They are mechanical slaves for life.

    Do you remember all of the recent fast food worker strikes that have been taking place? Where these burger flipping geniuses believe that they are so highly skilled and so highly valued that some teenager still in school should be making a minimum of $15 an hour?

    Companies are already coming up with their own solutions to combat the embarrassing entitlement mentality displayed by certain groups of ignorant individuals who do not grasp basic economics.

    Wendy's to replace workers with machines due to rising minimum wage :#

    http://www.fox32chicago.com/money/142139984-story
    icoco3jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 22
    revenantrevenant Posts: 621member
    apple ][ said:
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    they are exceptionally corrupt. western companies have lost in court over exact duplicates, even of cars, and have lost with a judge saying something like, "they do not look that similar". 
    jbdragonjackansijony0
  • Reply 6 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Tim, think about reducing Apple's overreliance on China and get those robots up and running.
    Agreed, but I think the real problem is access to rare earth elements. Apple should use some of their cash to support mining outside of China. 


    potatoleeksoupjbdragonjackansirepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 22
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 112member
    apple ][ said:
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    Xintong's acquired "IPHONE" trademark No. 6,304,198 holds a filing date of 2007. And since the "iPhone" name was not ubiquitous or "renowned" at the time -- the device launched in the U.S. three months prior -- Apple has no grounds for argument under Chinese law.
    edited May 2016 jackansistevehrepressthisurahara
  • Reply 8 of 22
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    apple ][ said:
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    Exactly how are Apple suppose to play hardball?
    jackansi
  • Reply 9 of 22
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    apple ][ said:
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    Exactly how are Apple suppose to play hardball?
    Progressively move more manufacturing to India once the factory there is ready
    jackansirepressthis
  • Reply 10 of 22
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,580member
    latifbp said:
    Exactly how are Apple suppose to play hardball?
    Progressively move more manufacturing to India once the factory there is ready
    India is democratic country and you can fight fairly in court but overtime different set of issues one faces as foreign company in India. Government changes so policy. Using Robots much as possible in manufacturing is a long term solution..
  • Reply 11 of 22
    2old4fun2old4fun Posts: 236member
    Tim, think about reducing Apple's overreliance on China and get those robots up and running.
    The robots are up and running - the manufacturing returns to the U.S. - but no new jobs are created.
    jackansirepressthis
  • Reply 12 of 22
    As an intellectual property attorney who does a lot of international work, I'm surprised by the slanderous undertone of this article, the quoted NYTimes article and many of the commentators. This is a legal question and needs to be looked at from a purely legal standpoint.

    Apple apparently didn't initially file for protection of its iPhone trademark in class 18 (leather goods) in China, which is somewhat understandable looking at the significance of "leather goods" in Apple's product palette, but perhaps not the best strategy for a mark that Apple could have foreseen as becoming extremely valuable.

    In the meantime, a Russian company saw its opportunity and nabbed the trademark in class 18. That Russian company then sold off its rights, which is a very common thing to do, to a Chinese company. Many major US companies own trademarks that predate their own existence. 

    The Russian company's trademark registration was probably trying to cash in on Apple's parallel use of the mark. Many countries have laws to protect owners of "ubiquitous" trademarks from such freeloaders. However, there's a big difference between suspecting such freeloading registration of a "ubiquitous" trademark and proving it before a court of law. For example, just because many of us know the iPhone trademark now doesn't mean that mark was ubiquitous in China when that Russian company obtained its trademark. And while many countries also have laws to protect trademark owners from trademark registrations that could "water down" the older trademark, it could be that China, at the time of the Russian registration, didn't have laws like that yet. Countries are always working on fixing unforeseen loopholes in the law.

    Based on the few facts I've seen (and my experience with Chinese IP law), I have no reason to believe that the Chinese court was biased, let alone corrupt or crooked as some commentators have suggested. China has made enormous progress in the realm of protecting intellectual property over the last few decades.

    If you'd like to complain about an unjust patent system, how about calling your representative in Congress, asking them why it costs well over a million dollars to litigate a US patent and ask them to work on legislation to get those costs down.
    singularityicoco3repressthis
  • Reply 13 of 22
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,402moderator
    apple ][ said:
    Tim, think about reducing Apple's overreliance on China and get those robots up and running.
    I agree.

    In the future, robots are going to solve many problems in general, not just for Apple.

    Maybe that can lead to more American manufacturing also. Unlike the workers, it's not like a Chinese robot can be paid less than an American robot. They'll both make the same income, zero. They are mechanical slaves for life.

    Do you remember all of the recent fast food worker strikes that have been taking place? Where these burger flipping geniuses believe that they are so highly skilled and so highly valued that some teenager still in school should be making a minimum of $15 an hour?

    Companies are already coming up with their own solutions to combat the embarrassing entitlement mentality displayed by certain groups of ignorant individuals who do not grasp basic economics.

    Wendy's to replace workers with machines due to rising minimum wage

    http://www.fox32chicago.com/money/142139984-story
    Wait until the food prep is replaced with automated machines.  That's going to spawn a revolution.  The fast food industry will publicly tout the benefits of efficiency, getting your order to you faster or some such, but the unspoken message, which will be much discussed on the morning talk shows and in other popular media will be that now you don't need to worry about a hair, or much worse, ending up in your food.  I, for one, in the few times a year I do partake of fast food, would certainly patronize those establishments that went fully automated in their kitchens.  I'll bet a lot of people would in order to avoid the same concerns.  And then the switch over to fully automated food handling snowballs.  Just wait; it'll take only one or two to get things moving. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 14 of 22
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    latifbp said:
    Exactly how are Apple suppose to play hardball?
    Progressively move more manufacturing to India once the factory there is ready
    Over what time period? Too long and it could have little affect, too short and Apple could encounter real problems in actually getting enough production at the quality required. Also China can then play even harder hardball and just "restrict" accesscone to Apple products, insist without a "backdoor" then no services etc can be supplied.
    A bit of an armeggdon scenario but an attempt at hardball would have the Chinese government laughing their collective socks off.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    appleluvrappleluvr Posts: 35member
    apple ][ said:
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    1. Note the Apple deal with Foxconn to open a factory in India. 2. China is chasing its manufacturing out of the country and large multinationals will reach a tipping point where it's no longer possible to do business there. China is headed for a crash and burn trajectory if they don't change their self-centered focus and join the global community in fair business practices.
    repressthis
  • Reply 16 of 22
    TempletonTempleton Posts: 84member
    s--- happens here too. Dumb ass judges abound in lower courts, Graft and corruption and elbow rubbing. High court will probably do the right thing.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 17 of 22
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,471member
    apple ][ said:
    I agree.

    In the future, robots are going to solve many problems in general, not just for Apple.

    Maybe that can lead to more American manufacturing also. Unlike the workers, it's not like a Chinese robot can be paid less than an American robot. They'll both make the same income, zero. They are mechanical slaves for life.

    Do you remember all of the recent fast food worker strikes that have been taking place? Where these burger flipping geniuses believe that they are so highly skilled and so highly valued that some teenager still in school should be making a minimum of $15 an hour?

    Companies are already coming up with their own solutions to combat the embarrassing entitlement mentality displayed by certain groups of ignorant individuals who do not grasp basic economics.

    Wendy's to replace workers with machines due to rising minimum wage

    http://www.fox32chicago.com/money/142139984-story
    Wait until the food prep is replaced with automated machines.  ...
    You are referring to a vending machine...
    repressthis
  • Reply 18 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    revenant said:
    apple ][ said:
    What a damn joke.

    A Chinese leather goods company that didn't even exist until 2011, gets the rights to iPhone?

    In 2011? The iPhone was released in 2007. 

    How corrupt and crooked is the Chinese court system? What a bunch of no good crooks and dirty rotten scoundrels.

    Hopefully Apple will take this all the way up to the Chinese Supreme People's Court as soon as possible, and get this damn crooked mess straightened up. 

    China benefits a lot from Apple as a company, and Apple should be prepared to play hardball with the communists, when push comes to shove. I would like to see Apple flex its muscles and do whatever it takes to put a stop to this nonsense.
    they are exceptionally corrupt. western companies have lost in court over exact duplicates, even of cars, and have lost with a judge saying something like, "they do not look that similar". 
    Ever buy tools from Harbor Freight or NothernTools? Same thing. Those brands literally go out the back doors of Chinese factories manufacturing American branded tools, only with as many corners cut as possible.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    apple ][ said:
    Tim, think about reducing Apple's overreliance on China and get those robots up and running.
    I agree.

    In the future, robots are going to solve many problems in general, not just for Apple.

    Maybe that can lead to more American manufacturing also. Unlike the workers, it's not like a Chinese robot can be paid less than an American robot. They'll both make the same income, zero. They are mechanical slaves for life.

    Do you remember all of the recent fast food worker strikes that have been taking place? Where these burger flipping geniuses believe that they are so highly skilled and so highly valued that some teenager still in school should be making a minimum of $15 an hour?

    Companies are already coming up with their own solutions to combat the embarrassing entitlement mentality displayed by certain groups of ignorant individuals who do not grasp basic economics.

    Wendy's to replace workers with machines due to rising minimum wage

    http://www.fox32chicago.com/money/142139984-story
    Anyone with half a brain could see this coming. I worked at Jack in the Box making $3.35 a hour starting. Then went out of state to school where I worked at another Jack in the Box at $3.90 a hour full time, plus school full time, and living and paying on my own. 1 bedroom apartment with a Room mate. Worked and went to school at different times. It wasn't easy, but I knew a fast food place wasn't a career job. It's a temp job. Any monkey with half a brain can do it. The link you put up is only for Touch-screen kiosks. That's just the start of things to come. Look on youtube for Roboburger!

     

     People are pricing themselves right out of the market!!! Self check out lanes in grocery stores and Home improvement stores, etc. Where you have 4 self check out lanes and 1 person watching over everyone. That's means only 1 in 4 people kept their jobs. Or 2 in 8 if there's 2 shifts. Kiosks at a fast food place is just the start. It's a quick and easy thing to start off with, which in the end will lead to robots making the food. It's already pretty standardize. Wouldn't be hard to go the next step. Then you can get rid of most everyone. Out of all the people that used to work there, you're now down to a couple people. Only there to clean the place, and restock the supplies for the machines. Go from a place that used to have 20-30 people working there, down to maybe 10 at most. They get their $15, and everyone else is unemployed. You're even starting to see this in China at Foxconn, as Labor prices go up, the Robot's are starting to come in. I expect within 10 years or less, new fast food places will be designed right from the start to use Kiosks and Robot's to do the cooking. It'll come first to the places that have $15+ wages. You do know, once the wages go up to $15, the costs of everything else creep up also so you're back where you started. In fact the people now really screwed are those making $16-$20 or so as they didn't get a raise and yet the costs of everything went up on them also, and so in effect will take a big negative hit. You have Unions that have a set base pay that's set so much above the Minimum wage, so when that goes up, so does it for the Union workers, increasing costs!!! If you want to make more money, get a Education and make yourself worth something of value to be paid more. Again, any monkey can flip a burger and push a button. I know, I used to do it!!!
    icoco3
  • Reply 20 of 22
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    The whole i for names like iPhone and iPad should just go away. It's been nothing but a issue in a number of countries. Apple should just bite the bullet and go Apple Phone and Apple Pad instead, like the Apple Watch and Apple Music.
    jackansi
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