Apple Loses Suit Against 'iPhone' Wallet Maker

Apple has lost a legal battle to stop a leather goods company in China from using the phrase "iPhone" on its products.

A court in Beijing ruled the US tech giant had failed to prove its iPhone was a "famous brand" across China before the small firm applied for the "iPhone" trademark in 2007.

Apple had only begun to sell smartphones in the Chinese market in 2009.

It means Xintong Tiandi Technology can continue to use the iPhone name on the wallets, mobile phone cases and handbags it manufactures.

Bizarrely, Apple had applied to trademark "iPhone" for computer hardware in 2002 - five years before its first smartphone was released - but the application was only approved by the Chinese government in 2013.

The verdict could create further headaches for Apple, which recently announced that falling iPhone sales had contributed to the worst financial quarter in 13 years.

China is the company's second-largest market, but the country has been suffering an economic slowdown of late.

Apple's sales in Greater China in the first quarter of 2016 were 26% lower than during the same period a year earlier.

In 2012, a similar dispute over the "iPad" trademark affected sales figures in China and even delayed the launch of a new tablet in the country.

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