Apple Pays $60 Million To Settle iPad Trademark Case In China


Apple has agreed to pay $60 million to Chinese display manufacturer Proview Technology, settling a long-running dispute over rights to the iPad name in China.

According to China's Xinhua news, the settlement will officially grant Apple ownership of the iPad brand in China and solidify its ability to continue selling and producing the tablet in the country.

The dispute was first sparked last year by Shenzhen-based Proview, which claimed Apple was illegally using the iPad brand, a name it had trademarked for its own Internet Personal Access Device product in 2001. Apple countered by saying it bought rights to the iPad name in 10 countries from a Taiwanese Proview affiliate called Proview Taipei in 2009. Proview alleged rights to the name in mainland China were never part of the deal.

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A Chinese court rejected Apple's claim to the iPad name in a December ruling and awarded Proview continued ownership in the country. Apple filed for an appeal.

In February, Proview Technology had attempted to ban iPad sales in China, along with any exporting or importing of the device. The ban would have dealt a significant blow to Apple, which hosts the bulk of its manufacturing facilities, including its Foxconn plants, in mainland China.

Also in February, Proview attempted to extend its suit against Apple to the U.S., claiming the Cupertino, Calif.-based company had been misleading about its intentions for the iPad brand when it first purchased its rights. According to Proview, Apple originally said it would use the name as an abbreviation for its legal subsidiary called IP Application Development, not for a product.

California Judge Mark Pierce, however, dismissed the case in the U.S., ruling the two companies had already agreed to settle in China.

The Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province said Monday that Apple has provided $60 million to Proview to settle the case and confirmed the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China has officially transferred the rights to Apple in exchange.

"All parties involved have agreed on the settlement. Proview and Apple now no longer have a dispute over the iPad trademark," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Proview, in the Xinhua news report.

Apple said in its second-quarter earnings release in April that nearly 20 percent of its quarterly revenue -- or $7.9 billion -- could be attributed to sales in China.

PUBLISHED JULY 2, 2012