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Apple has had good weeks in Asia… but this wasn’t one of them

Apple has faced further setbacks in its Asian business, on news that the tech giant has lost a trademark fight in China and been refused permission for a business project in India.

The U.S. tech giant lost a battle to trademark the name "IPHONE" in China, according to a report by the BBC which cited China's official Legal Daily newspaper.

The BBC said Apple first brought a case against Xintong Tiandi, which sells leather goods such as bags and phone cases branded as IPHONE, in 2012 in order to get exclusive rights to the name. At the end of April this year, the Beijing High Court ruled in favour of Xintong Tiandi, according to the BBC report.

A spokesperson for Apple said the company was disappointed with the decision.

"We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People's Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights," they said in an email to CNBC. "We work hard to make the best products in the world and want to ensure our customers' experience is not compromised by companies who try to profit from using our brand."

A worker cleaning an Apple logo in Suzhou, China.
Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images
A worker cleaning an Apple logo in Suzhou, China.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported the U.S. company planned to import and sell refurbished iPhones in India, but the request was rejected by the country's government on grounds of official policy. This sets back Apple's ability to win over India consumers.

This news compounds the disappointment following Apple's recent second quarter earnings report which revealed sales in Greater China declined 26 percent year-on-year to $12.49 billion.

Apple CEO Tim Cook blamed the decline on China's weakening economy and currency headwinds; on a constant currency basis, sales were down only 7 percent.

Speaking to CNBC's Jim Cramer, Cook said that there were still positive signs for Apple in China, such as the long-term growth of the middle classes.

"In the short term, the iPhone upgrade rate affects all countries, including China. The great thing is the switching rate in China is huge," he said. "These are people who are switching from Android phones to iPhones."


He added that there was huge market potential in India, as LTE networks (or 4G networks) were being introduced in the county this year. This would make smartphones more appealing to users.

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Read the original BBC and Bloomberg reports.