Apple has settled its long-running dispute with China’s Proview company over the ownership of the iPad name.
The dispute stems from Apple’s purchase of ‘global’ rights to the iPad trademark from a Taiwanese affiliate of Proview in 2009.
At the time, that transaction cost Apple a mere £35,000 but it was later claimed that Apple did not own the use of the name in China.
The complicated legal dispute led to the blocking of iPad sales in the potentially huge Chinese market, which was all the more ironic because the hardware was actually made there (at Foxconn’s Chinese facilities).
Proview is a manufacturer of LCD screens and has been struggling financially. According to The Guardian, Proview had been hoping for as much as $400m from Apple but settled for less due to the pressure to clear debts.
Apple has billions of dollars in cash reserves and so $60m is probably something it had down the back of the sofa.
“The iPad dispute resolution is ended,” said a statement from the Guangdong High People’s Court. “Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”
There have reportedly been millions of iPads imported back into China on the grey market, so the new court settlement clears the way for official iPad sales to resume.
Despite the country being flooded with cheap imitators, there is consumer demand for Apple products in China, as the continuing success there of the iPhone has shown.
Via The Guardian