Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Right after Proview iPad trademark settlement, Apple faces new Chinese lawsuit

Apple has just cleared the way for its iPad to be sold in China, by setting with Proview over the iPad trademark. That settlement was just announced yesterday, but now Apple has a new lawsuit to deal with.

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We can imagine the thoughts going through the Chinese household chemical company called “Jiangsu Xuebao“ after seeing the $60 million payoff made to Proview. "Hey, let's give it a shot; what could possibly go wrong?"

Jiangsu Xuebao has sued Apple over the Snow Leopard trademark in China. While (let's be honest) far less important to Apple than the iPad trademark, it's still important. It's two versions out of date, though.

Jiangsu Xuebao says it registered the trademark of the Chinese translation of “Snow Leopard” — “Xuebao (雪豹)” for electrical equipment production in 2000 (ironically, the same year that Proview registered the iPad trademark), and they claim Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” violates the trademark.

Of course, since Snow Leopard, Apple has released Lion (10.7) and is releasing Mountain Lion (10.8) soon.

Apple reportedly tried to register the “Xuebao” trademark in 2008 for use in selling Snow Leopard in Chinese stores, but it was rejected by China’s trademark office (go figure). Due to that rejection (we assume), Apple has not used the “Xuebao” translation to sell Snow Leopard on their official Chinese-language website.

Most of Jiangsu Xuebao’s products are household items such as toothpaste and cleaning supplies, but the company does sell some electronic equipment, such as touchscreens.

On July 10, a Shanghai court is scheduled to hear Jiangsu Xuebao's case against Apple. In addition to the (more important, we assume) financial compensation, the company reportedly wants a formal apology from Apple.

Furthermore, aside from suing the Cupertino, Calif. giant, Jiangsu Xuebao has also sued four other Chinese companies which market and sell the Snow Leopard operating system.

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