This dispute demonstrates well how, in a global market, phasing of trade mark protection programmes challenges even big companies. Chinese law grants trade mark rights to the first-applying applicant covering the relevant products, except if a later applicant’s trade mark is well-known in China even earlier. Here, that put Xintong Tiandi ahead, making Apple rely on the exception. It entered China’s difficult market later than hoped so it’s easy to see how this was tough. An imperfect world.