Remember Smart Case, that blatant rip-off of Apple’s Smart Cover that was traced back to Samsung and subsequently pulled following a 9to5Mac story? It will be much harder for Chinese knock-off vendors to put knock-off cases like that one on sale in the country because Apple, as Patently Apple discovered today, has filed for a figurative Smart Cover trademark in China. The company previously filed for the actual trademark Smart Cover name in Canada, the US, Europe and China.

However, a figurative trademark is much stronger as it “confers the exclusive right to the trademark in its concrete figurative version, whereas a word trademark confers the exclusive right to the word(s) in any font with or without figurative elements”, the publication explains. The patent application was filed today with the Patent & Trademark Office in China and covers covering cases, sleeves, sheaths and pouches for computers as well as business cases, claiming the above three-dimensional shape as an element of the trademark. Makes you wonder what took so long…

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