Businesses warned to protect IP after Apple trademark loss
Shropshire and West Midlands businesses trading in China are being warned they risk losing more than just sales if they fail to protect their intellectual property.
Corporate lawyer David Preece said tech giant Apple’s failure to win a battle to stop a Chinese company using the name ‘iPhone’ demonstrates how difficult it is for Western companies to protect their IP overseas.
He said: “Apple is one of the largest, most well-known and most valuable brands on the planet but the need to protect your own creative ideas and products is the same for many businesses, big or small.
“Apple’s products are not only known and recognised the world over, but its technical innovation paired with minimalistic design mean that the company enjoys strong brand loyalty. It isn’t, however, invincible and last week it lost a significant trademark case in China.
“The firm that they were trying to prevent from using the name ‘iPhone’ in fact manufactures handbags and other leather goods and had managed to trademark IPHONE for leather products in China in 2010 – three years before Apple secure its trademark bid for the name iPhone.”
David, an Associate at FBC Manby Bowdler based in Telford/Wolverhampton, said China was a “notoriously difficult market” for Western businesses.
“Chinese manufacturers will often ignore IP and simply manufacture what they want, and in reality the authorities do little to prevent this. This case serves as a high profile reminder of why, regardless of your brand’s size or global stature, you should always seek to protect your IP in overseas markets.”
David is an established member of the Intellectual Property (IP), Technology & Media Law Group, advising clients on a range of non-contentious intellectual property matters, with a particular emphasis on protection of IP.