When is an iPad no longer an iPad? When sold in China. Apple has just lost a legal battle over the trademark of the name ‘iPad’, which it launched against local supplier, Proview, who registered the name ten years ago.
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A Taiwanese based subsidiary of Proview then sold the rights to name to another UK company, IP Applications, which sold them to Apple for a $55,000 sum, according to TG Daily.
However, a Chinese court has now ruled the sale has no jurisdiction in China, since the transaction was performed by an international subsidiary, meaning Proview can hold on to the trademark ‘iPad’ in the country.
And the Chinese vendor has also launched its own lawsuit against Apple, claiming trademark infringement and is seeking a whopping $1.5 billion in compensation.
“Apple is such a Goliath and has a good image, so people wouldn’t imagine that Apple could possibly infringe on our intellectual property rights,” Proview lawyer, Xiao Caiyuan, told the Financial Times.
“People always think it’s small companies infringing upon large companies’ IPR.”
This ruling, by the Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, means a massive headache for Apple in what is its second most important market outside its native US, and by 2014 will be its single biggest market as it befriends more telco’s there, analysts believe.
Only in October did Apple CEO, Tim Cook, point out the importance of the market.
“Everything we’re doing in the US, we’re now doing in China,” he declared. “The skies the limit.”
If Apple are unable to sell their cult iPad under name enjoyed globally, this could put a spanner in its Chinese grand plans.