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The BBC reported yesterday that Apple is in the middle of a case over the trademark “iPad” with the Chinese firm known as Proview, a flatscreen contract manufacturer. Proview claims that it registered the name “iPad” in 2000. Currently, the battle is taking place in Chinese courts, but Proview has threatened to take the case up with American courts as well.
Proview has called for the Chinese courts to ban the sale of iPads in Shanghai, but the courts have ruled to suspend this request until a bigger case can be made.
Apple had purchased the name “iPad” from the Taiwanese subsidiary of Proview in 2009, known as Proview International. Proview’s argument is that this purchase does not give claim to the name in mainland China, where the company is originally based. In December of 2011, Apple requested that the iPad name be transferred to the company. However, the Shenzhen (the Chinese city Proview is based out of) court ruled against Apple, and the name still belongs to Proview. As a result, stores in some Chinese cities have begun pulling iPads from their shelves. Apple looks to appeal that decision on February 29th.
Proview is looking to seek $1.6 billion in compensation for copyright infringement for the name. Yang has also stated that Proview had a design product going by the name of IPAD in 2001, and adds "It's the same concept as the iPad today, except that back then, there were practically no LCD screens."
Although Proview is also seeking to pursue the ban of importing and exporting of iPads, the company admits that further banning of the Apple product may prove difficult. “The customs have told us that it will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products,” Proview’s executive Yang Long-san stated. “The sheer size of the market is very big.”
When the iPad 2 hit Apple stores in China, people lined up overnight in order to get one. The product was sold out within hours of the stores opening. In October 2011, Bloomberg.com reported that China “accounted for 16 percent of Apple’s fourth-quarter sales, or about $4.5 billion.”
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