Apple Case Underscores Pitfalls of Doing Business in China

The New York Times:

On March 31 the Beijing Higher People’s Court upheld earlier rulings by a lower court and China’s trademark arbitration board that Xintong Tiandi had the right to use “iPhone” for products in Class 18 of the international trademark classification system, since Xintong Tiandi acquired the trademark in 2007 when the iPhone name was “not renowned” in China, the court ruled. Apple has the rights in Class 9, which covers computers and smartphones. Class 18 covers leather goods.

You’ve probably heard of that case, but here’s something you probably did not know:

Xintong Tiandi didn’t exist in 2007. A Russian company acquired the rights then and Xintong Tiandi bought the rights from it in 2011, the Chinese company’s lawyer, Xiong Zhi, said in a telephone interview. Public company filings show that Xintong Tiandi was set up in 2011.

So, a company that didn’t exist in 2007 wins the court case to uphold their trademark from 2007, despite not existing until 2011?