When Is An Apple iPad Not A Genuine iPad? When It's Sold In Mainland China

Brad Chacos

Don’t let the headline fool you; Apple’s still selling plenty of iPads in its Chinese stores, especially the ones in Shanghai and Beijing. Those honeypots may soon dry up, though, as a Chinese court has determined that Apple has no right to use the iPad moniker in mainland China. The company that owns Chinese rights to the name now plans to sue the pants off of Apple for selling the iPad on the mainland. But the infringed company is totally cool that Apple used the iPad name on the island of Taipei. Sound complicated? It is.

Proview Technology (Taipei) sold Apple rights to use the iPad name in Taipei way back in 2009, you see, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) – another Proview International Holdings Limited subsidiary – holds the rights from mainland use of the name. Apple never bought those separate mainland rights before opening stores in mainland China, and it actually sued Proview Technology (Shenzhen) for infringing on the 'iPad" trademark, even though Proview registered the term way back in 2000.

Today, Xinhua News reported that a local court ruled in Proview Technology (Shenzhen)’s favor and dismissed Apple's lawsuit. Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is struggling to stay afloat right now, so it should come as no surprise that the company quickly announced that it was suing Apple for copyright infringement – to the tune of $1.6 billion.

"Apple's actions are strange. They had not obtained the rights to use the 'iPad' trademark when they began to sell the iPad on the Chinese mainland in September last year," said Huang Yiding, speaking for Proview. “Their copy infringement is very clear. The laws are still there, and they sell their products in defiance of laws. The more products they sell, the more they need to compensate.”

Let’s have some fun with this one: what would be a good secondary name for the iPad if Apple can’t call it “iPad” in China?

Image credit: myessentia.com

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