Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Apple and Proview settle case over Chinese iPad trademark

It's over. Apple and Proview Technology have settled their long-running dispute over the iPad trademark in China. Apple has agreed to pay the Taiwanese firm $60 million, after the Cupertino, Calif. company's earlier $16 million offer was rejected.

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The closure of the case was confirmed by the Guangdong High People’s Court, which issued the following statement: “The iPad dispute resolution is ended. Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”

While China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States, it is also the manufacturing source of much of Apple's iPad and iPhone supply. Given that, Proview had tried, but failed, to get Chinese customs officials to impose an export (not import) ban, which would have emasculated Apple's chain for the tablets.

China, given its burgeoning economy and middle class, is also the source of much of the Apple's recent sales growth.

The struggling Proview still faces the prospect bankruptcy in a separate legal proceeding. It had, at one time, said it hoped for as much as $400 million as a settlement from Apple.

The dispute centered on a dispute over the iPad name in China. Apple said it acquired the rights in various countries from a Proview affiliate in Taiwan for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000) on Dec. 23, 2009.

However, in December 2011, a court ruled that Proview, which had registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, was not bound by that sale, despite apparently being part of the same company.

Still, for a company sitting on as much cash as Apple is, getting the issue out of the way expeditiously is far better than trying to continue to fight in the courts. For Apple, $60 million is nothing; it had better be since the firm has to post a $96 million bond to put the preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus into place.

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