Apple Opposes Chinese Electronics Company’s Proposed ‘AIFONX’ Trademark

On Tuesday, Apple Inc. opposed a trademark applied for by Shenzhen Guardian Bao Communication Co. Ltd. (Shenzhen Guardian). The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) filing takes issue with the proposed mark on the basis that it closely replicates Apple’s registered “iPhone” marks, including those used in connection with the iPhone X device Apple makes, markets, and sells. The similarity of the proposed “aifonx” mark to its own Apple contends, as reprinted below, is likely cause consumer confusion and harm its brand.

According to the opposition, Apple’s mark has been famous since long prior to the filing date of Shenzhen Guardian’s application in July 2020. In addition, the opposer’s marks have been used in connection with the iPhone X since Nov. 3, 2017 when Apple brought the model to market.

The TTAB opposition argues that Apple’s iPhone registrations constitute prima facie evidence of Apple’s exclusive right to use the marks in connection with the goods and services specified therein. Despite this, Apple explains, Shenzhen Guardian seeks to register the proposed mark for use with consumer electronics like smartphones and laptops, electronic accessories like headphones, charging ports, USB cables and charging ports, and other items like sunglasses, and electronic animal training collars.

Apple asserts that the proposed mark is similar “visually, aurally, conceptually, and in overall commercial impression.”  The filing states several grounds for opposition, including lack of bona fide use in commerce, likelihood of confusion, and likelihood of dilution by blurring. Accordingly, Apple asks TTAB to refuse Shenzhen Guardian’s proposed mark.

Apple is represented by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.