Overseas Chinese Company Hanwang Owns “I-Phone” Trademark

Posted Jul 2, 2009

Apple Inc. is currently working on making a deal with China Unicom for bringing the iPhone to China, the most populated country in the world.  The only problem is that Hanwang Technology Co. owns the trademark for the term “i-phone” for mobile phones.

This makes it illegal for Apple to sell the iPhone in China.  Apple registered the “iPhone” trademark in China back in 2002, but that only covered computer software and hardware.  In 2004, Hanwang won the trademark for the term “i-phone” covering mobile phones and phone equipment.

In order for Apple to sell the iPhone in China, Apple would have to make an agreement with Hanwang or find a way to have the i-phone trademark revoked.  Having a trademark revoked could take upwards to 3-4 years.  In China, there are currently about 1 million unlocked iPhones floating around.

[via ComputerWorld]