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July 03, 2012

A $60 Million Settlement with Shenzhen-based Proview Ends Dispute for Rights of the iPad Name

By Daniel Brecht, Contributing Writer

The dispute over ownership of the iPad name is now over between Apple (News - Alert) Inc. and Shenzhen Proview Technology. The Apple computer company agreed to pay $60 million to settle the disagreement on who would have licensed rights to this tablet. Only the payment of this sum of money would put an end to the litigation of global rights concerning the iPad name and approve this mobile digital device as another one of the trademarks for Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Since Apple first released its iPad, in 2010, there has been a fall out with Proview Technology, the manufacturer of Apple’s screen for its tablet; the disagreement (not accepting Apple as having intellectual property rights to the iPad name or having even earned the license name) resulted in custom officials placing a ban of the sales of the iPad in China. This had a dramatic effect, as China has emerged as one of Apple’s largest markets.

The settlement of $60 million marked the end of the long-running trademark dispute, which began in 2011 when Shenzhen Proview Technology sued Apple. The litigation ended in a Chinese courtroom on Monday, 02 July 2012, where it was agreed to transfer the iPad trademark for China to Apple.

Apple now owns the iPad name at a cost. Apple had counter-sued but lost and then appealed; only having to pay a great sum of money in the iPad China case for global rights of the iPad name.

Looking back, Apple did acquire iPad trademarks in various countries; they even secured Taiwanese rights to the iPad in 2006 and in 2009, when they bought the global rights to the iPad name from Proview. However, a Chinese court ruled that Proview still owned the name in China. Therefore, the dispute on whether Apple will acquire the iPad name was in full swing with Shenzhen Proview Technology, up until their settlement date.

As seen by Proview Technology, they felt Apple was in violation of the exclusive rights attaching to a trademark without their authorization.

Even though Apple Inc. had designed and created the iPad, and the tablets were assembled in China by Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group (News - Alert) and provided LED screens by Proview Technology, Apple was not the actual owner of the product until it overcame some jurisdictions and law trademark rights.

What one can understand from the Apple vs. Proview Technology trademark case is that, regardless of being the designer and creator of a product, ownership of a name can be a difficult matter to settle and should be clarified early to avoid long legal battles.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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