Thursday, December 08, 2011

Will the iPad Trademark Be Apple's Forbidden Fruit?

Must Apple resellers in Dongmen, Shenzhen stop selling iPads?
Photo: Danny Friedmann
Kathrin Hille wrote for the Financial Times (FT) that (mother company) Proview Electronics of Taiwan agreed to sell Apple the “global trademark” for the iPad name for 35,000 UK pounds, according to Proview. "[B]ut the two companies have subsequently disagreed about whether that deal included China", read Ms Hill's FT article here.

Of course there is no such thing as a global trademark, that is why Ms Hill put it between quotation marks. Trademarks are rather territorial creatures. It is beyond my imagination that the lawyers of Apple did not check whether the trademarks for the iPad in China were included. If I would buy something for 35,000 UK pounds, I would check and double check.

When Apple applied for the iPad trademark in China, it was rejected by the trademark office, because Proview Technology already owned the trademark. And Apple sought a declaration of invalidity at the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court. The FT reports that the court rejected this request by Apple earlier this week. Apple can, and I am certain, they will appeal.

In the short term Apple has more problems, now that Proview Technology (Shenzhen) has started suing Apple resellers at the Shenzhen Futian District Court (December 30, 2011) and Huizhou Intermediate People's Court (January 7, 2012). 

Guangdong Guanghe land Grandall were the law firms that assisted Proview.

UPDATE: More about ongoing trademark battles between Proview versus Apple here.

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