Apple Pays $60 Million To Chinese iPad Trademark Owner

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Apple pays Chinese iPad trademark owner $60 million to get its tablets on the shelves in China

Apple has paid $60 million (£38.2m) to Proview Technology, headquartered in Shenzhen, in a settlement that will end a long-running dispute and allow Apple to use the contested iPad trademark in China.

Previously, Apple had faced bans on some of its products as a result of a lengthy copyright dispute with a company that claimed the ownership of the Chinese IPAD name.

Chinese iPad conflict

Proview, the Taiwanese-owned flatscreen manufacturer, had registered the “IPAD” trademark in the EU, China, Mexico, South Korea,  Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam between 2000 and 2004.

It had developed a whole “iFamily” of products, including iTV and iWeb. The Proview IPAD was launched in 2000, but unlike Apple’s 2010 tablet computer, it didn’t have much success.

Apple bought the global IPAD trademark from Proview for a measly £35,000 in 2006. But when it tried to register the name in China, the move was denied by the Chinese trademark office, which claimed it already had an owner. Apple said it bought the mainland China rights to the iPad name from Proview in a later 2009 deal.

However, Proview claimed that it retained the ownership of the iPad name in China. It tried to stop the sales of the Apple tablet, asking for a reported 10 billion yuan (£1 billion) in compensation for trademark infringement.

In 2011, Apple briefly lost the right to use the iPad name in China, but it appealed the lower court ruling in February this year, and subsequently won. In May, Proview crossed the Atlantic to try its luck at the Superior Court of the State of California, but the case was dismissed due to a previous ruling.

The lengthy lawsuits caused problems for Apple, and even delayed the launch of some products, notably the latest iPad.

“The case is settled, both sides are satisfied with the agreement,” Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer for Proview, told the BBC.

Proview International Holdings was once one of the world’s leading makers of computer monitors, with sales in 50 countries and more than 7,000 employees in factories in Taiwan and China. It was manufacturing cathode-ray tube displays, and did not take the transition to LCD very well.

According to Reuters, Proview, which is now on the verge of financial collapse, will use the money to repay its creditors.

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