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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Experts say Apple has trademark weakness

By Wang Huazhong and Cao Yin (China Daily)

09:14, February 20, 2012

BEIJING - The names of iPhone and iPad could wind up on hiking shoes, veterinary drugs or even diapers in China if Apple fails to remedy flaws in its brand strategy, experts say.

At least 39 Chinese companies and individuals in recent years have attempted to register the two trademarks in categories that Apple has not, according to the China Trademark Website.

Six, including a flashlight manufacturer, have gone so far as gaining preliminary approval from authorities and were forced to defend their applications when objections were raised in the final disclosure procedure, according to the website, run by the trademark office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

"Apple objected to our application on the last day of the three-month disclosure," said Xu Jie, a lawyer representing flashlight manufacturer Cai Zhiyong.

Xu said the trademark office sent a letter to Cai on Feb 15, asking Cai to provide supporting evidence within a month.

"We received the authorities' go-ahead to move into the disclosure stage, and we are confident we will be successful," Xu said.

Xu said it took him by surprise when he, at the request of Cai, found Apple had not registered the trademarks in all of China's 45 commercial categories, a practice that other transnational companies follow.

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