Chinese clothing brand sues Apple for stealing its logo for the App Store

Image: Kon

Apple is being sued for its App Store logo by a Chinese clothing brand called Kon that has a similar logo, reports Phone Radar. Kon, according to China’s Wikipedia equivalent Baidu Baike, is a clothing brand founded in 2009 based on the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy In The UK. The triangle is supposed to be skeleton bones that symbolize power over death.

Apple changed its App Store logo back in August from a paintbrush, pencil, and a ruler, to three sticks with rounded ends that overlap each other to form a triangle. Kon’s logo looks similar, but the ends are sharp rectangles.

See:

Image: Kon
Image: Apple App Store

The Chinese clothing brand says it owns the trademark to its logo and Apple’s new App Store logo used on iPhones and macOS is a violation of Chinese copyright law. Kon is demanding Apple publicly apologize and pay damages.

The Beijing People’s Court has accepted the case, according to Phone Radar. However, since Chinese courts don’t upload every case seen, the Kon case is not currently listed on the court website. Phone Radar expects that the judgment can come in over the next few weeks. Apple has dealt with a lot of lawsuits over this past year against the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, and Corephotonics. Last year, it lost the trademark for the word “iPhone” to a Chinese vendor of leather goods.

We’ve reached out to Apple and Kon for comment and will update when we hear back.

Update December 19th 1PM EST: This article was updated to reflect that Kon claims it owns the trademark not copyright to its logo.

Comments

Let’s make sure that, The Andromeda Strain, rights holders get their cut then.

This app icon style predates Kon’s existence. However, I don’t know how the nuances of the lines being paintbrushes versus rounded lines make a difference.

Chinese harassment of american companies is an ancient tradition… remember the Google and Uber raids? This is not surprising. Though they may have a real case even in the US.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swuir_7YIPs

Apple will lose because Chinese courts always side with the home team.

With that said, I’d love to see where this supposed Anarchy in the UK influence is, because I can’t find it. The generic anarchy logo maybe, but that’s a stretch. Apple didn’t really invent the concept of an A with overlapping lines with their 2008 App Store logo, but the fact that Kon was founded in 2009 makes the most obvious explanation that they cribbed Apple either intentional or not.

Well, it’s not like american courts don’t side with the home team either…

that said, aren’t trademarks limited by the sector they apply to?

Aren’t logos such as this trademarked not copyrighted? Also I thought it wasn’t enough for them to be similar but that they had to be competing in the same space?

Yes, on both counts. I’ve updated the post. As to whether they’re competing in the same space or not, I can’t say and will leave that question for the lawyers.

Apple should be ashamed of themselves. I was looking for some sartorial pieces from KON but then mistakenly ordered things from the Apple’s App Store instead because of the similar logo. Now I don’t have anything to wear. Just apps?! SMH!

I’m curious what "damages" mean when it comes to this kind of case. Did someone confuse an app store with a clothing store and there is lost income to the app store? I’m dumbfounded.

I’m all for this. Whatever it takes for Apple to bring the paintbrush, pencil, and ruler back. Always thought this stick A was lazy AF.

That shape is too generic to trademark. How else are you supposed to have a 1-color representation of 3 overlapping sticks? The only thing that can be changed is the stick shape, and they’re actually different here. Maybe if this was another clothing brand I could understand, but here absolutely no damage is caused.

If they win their case, I’m almost tempted to open a business in China and start trademarking a bunch of generic shapes that may be used by foreign companies at some point. Sounds like easy money.

That shape is too generic to trademark.

That’s never stopped Apple

Angles, length of the overlapping bit, how you represent the overlapping part… actually the position of the shadow on the lower-left corner is pretty different (in apple’s logo it shows a top-down lighting and shadow whereas Kon’s logo has gone for triangular simmetry).

It’s far-fetched, but if they can make money out of it I can see them trying, of course.

Um, excuse me? China does not acknowledge international copyright, why are they complaining?

Yep.

I’m sure that’s what happened.

Apple should pull out of China and watch their entire middle class collapse. That’ll show ’em!

So we can all start paying $3,000 for our iPhones when they have to start manufacturing them here in the U.S.?

No, thanks.

Why not? Everyone wants to have their own stuff for dirt cheap and yet they complain when they can’t find the job. Manufacturing in China only gives Apple leeway in profit margin, they could easily manufacture it in US and still sell it for the same price but they would just profit less (not by much per unit).

Samsung doesn’t manufacture in China as much as Apple. Yet their phones are more advanced (hardware-wise). So, Apple should leave China.

But that would mean Apple couldn’t milk iPhone users as much as they could if manufacturing is more costly. That’s not good.
Unless Apple passes on the extra cost to iPhone buyers? That would be a good solution.

They already do, so why stop now?

Didn’t a person sell their kidney to pay for an iPhone? I have a spare kidney…

I’m pretty sure the loss of thousands of Foxconn workers making minimum wage aren’t going to affect China’s economy. But it will affect Apple’s profit margin, though.

So we can all start paying $3,000 for our iPhones when they have to start manufacturing them here in the U.S.?

I think you mean $10 more per iPhone, as that is what the actual difference in production cost would really be.

Chinese Copyright Law – isn’t that phrase an oxymoron?

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