Apple agreed to pay $60 million to electronics company Proview to continue using the iPad name in China.
The Guangdong High People’s Court said the case had been settled and that Apple had transferred the money into the court’s account, according to the Associated Press.
Proview, a Chinese electronics company, said that Apple misrepresented itself when it originally sought to buy the name before the iPad tablet’s 2007 launch, according to the Washington Post. From the article:
(It) said that Apple had used a smaller firm to purchase the trademark from Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate — something that is standard practice in the industry. Proview said both that its Chinese branch should not be bound by its affiliate’s agreement and that it was not clear that the trademark would be used to brand an electronics product. . . . In December, a Chinese court said Proview should not be bound by that sale.
Apple still hasn't introduced its latest iPad to China, but it's likely the latest decision will mean a quick deployment.
The case should give American companies some education on what they could face with Chinese trademark law, namely trouble. In case Chinese law isn't enough, Proview also filed suit against Apple in the U.S. alleging that Apple misrepresented itself and its intentions in order to obtain the trademark.
We don't know whether or not Apple tried to pull a fast one over Proview, or if Proview -- a struggling company -- just wants money. But either way, it does highlight to American companies that business in China can be more complicated than they originally thought.