Apple (News - Alert) Inc. just got a surprising message today from Chinese courts as a dispute arose on its right to distribute a product with the name “iPad” in China. The company recently accused Proview, a Chinese green energy and LED lighting company, of unlawfully using its “iPad” trademark, bordering on a copyright infringement.
The Chinese court didn’t grant Apple anything, being that Proview provided evidence of a trademark being registered for the “iPad” name in the year 2000. The trademark also exists in other countries since that year. It’s hard to believe, but it seems that this company really did at least plan on creating a product with that name, although it’s hard to see how the word “pad” fits in a lighting company’s products.
Proview’s Taiwan department sold the trademark to a company based in the United Kingdom named IP Application Development. When it was sold in 2006, the trademark had a price tag (News - Alert) of roughly $55,000. IP Application Development later transferred the trademark to Apple. This obviously made Apple think it was in the clear to name its product “iPad.” According to Proview, though, there’s still no dice.
Proview says that the trademark for China wasn’t transferred only because the Taiwan headquarters didn’t own that trademark wholly. The Chinese court took the side of Proview and gave it the right to the “iPad” trademark in Chinese soil.
At this point, it looks like Apple will have to pay Proview more than $1 billion in settlement money over copyright infringement. The company also has to sell the iPad with another name or not sell the device at all in China. Unfortunately, this might involve sacrificing certain aspects to the name that made it ring well with customers.
Miguel Leiva-Gomez is a professional writer with experience in computer sciences, technology, and gadgets. He has written for multiple technology and travel outlets and owns his own tech blog called The Tech Guy, where he writes educational, informative, and sometimes comedic articles for an audience that is less versed in technology.
Edited by Jennifer Russell