Apple Loses iPad Trademark Case In China

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The Chinese courts have rejected Apple’s claim to the iPad branding because of a disputed prior claim

Apple has lost the right to to use the iPad trademark in China, according to a court ruling that is likely to hinder sales of the iPad in the world’s largest consumer market.

Chinese courts rejected Apple’s claim to the name after the company accused Proview Technology of infringing on its iPad trademark.

Shoe on the other foot

According to the Financial times, the company has been embroiled in legal battles with the Taiwanese-owned flatscreen manufacturer over the name, which Proview  registered as IPAD in the EU, China, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam between 2000 and 2004.

The case arises from a dispute between the two companies after Apple bought the the global IPAD trademark from Proview for £35,000 in 2006, and then tried to register the name in China before launching the iPad. Apple was denied by the Chinese trademark office, which claimed the trademark was already owned by Proview. According to Proview the 2006 deal did not include China – a claim which Apple rejects.

Proview has also tried to stop Apple from selling its iPad in Southern China, claiming trademark infringement, in a case to be heard later this month.

Pay day

Reports also claim that Proview,which is on the verge of financial collapse, will be seeking substantial compensation for the infringement, and has considered selling the trademark on to the highest bidder, a move Apple is very keen to stop. Last year, the FT reported that Apple had won preliminary injunctions to stop Proview from selling off the IPAD name.

Li Su, president of  management consultancy firm, Hejun Vanguard Group, responsible for the debt restructuring for Proview said the the company will claim 10 billion yuan (£1bn) in compensation from Apple for copyright infringement, according to xinhuanet.com. “Their copy infringement is very clear. The laws are still there, and they sell their products in defiance of [these] laws. The more products they sell, the more they need to compensate,” he said.

Apple can still appeal the court’s decision, but the battle for the iPad name continues.

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