Apple has settled its trademark infringement litigation with Chinese company Proview Technology. According to the agreement, Apple has agreed to pay $60 million for the legal rights to use the iPad trademark in China.
The two companies had been working for several months to resolve the Chinese trademark lawsuit. The suit stems from Proview’s claim that it registered the iPad mark in China in 2001, and Apple’s competing claim that it purchased Proview’s rights in 2009. The Higher People’s Court of Guangdong had deferred ruling on the case in order to allow for settlement negotiations.
While the iPad trademark issues are resolved, Apple is already facing another IP lawsuit in China, suggesting that the Proview dispute may have opened the floodgates. According to Forbes, Jiangsu Snow Leopard Household Chemical filed a trademark infringement suit against Apple in the Shanghai Pudong District People’s Court. The lawsuit alleges that the name of the Mac operating system, Snow Leopard, infringes upon its trademark.
How Can I Help?
As this case highlights, it can be more difficult to protect trademarks and other IP rights overseas. In many countries, the first to register owns the mark even against the legitimate U.S. trademark owner who was first to use the mark in that country. Therefore, it is imperative to consult with an attorney experienced in foreign intellectual property concerns such as myself.