Jul 02, 2012 01:41 PM EDT
Apple's long-running trademark dispute with Chinese company Shenzhen Proview Technology has taken centerstage with Apple agreeing to pay $60 million as settlement. The China-based Proview Technology had registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, nine years prior to Apple unveiling the iPad, and has spent the last two years battling for ownership of the trademark and trying to block Apple's iPad sales in China.
Apple stated that it had bought the rights in 2009; however, Chinese authorities had claimed that the rights in China were never transferred. The tussle for iPad name rights finally came to an end removing a potential thorn in Apple's path. "The iPad dispute resolution is ended," the Guangdong High People's Court said. "Apple has transferred $60m to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter."
Apple had thought that it owned the global rights when it had purchased the name from Proview's parent company. But the financially- troubled Chinese firm disagreed, prompting Apple to take legal action. The settlement comes close on the heels of another legal dispute, a preliminary injunction against sales of rival Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone in the U.S.
Proview's lawyer Xie Xianghui said, "This is a result that is acceptable to both sides." He went on to say that the company had hoped for more money but felt pressurized to go for a settlement as it needed capital to pay off its debts.
For tech biggie Apple, which has billions of dollars in cash reserves in U.S. and outside, the settlement is a small expense keeping the long-term future and potential of the lucrative Chinese market in mind. You Yunting, a lawyer for the DeBund Law Office in Shanghai, summed up the atmosphere when he said, "It is a good deal for Apple, because sales of iPads, which are in great demand, can compensate for this $60 million cost."
The settlement is good news for Apple, who is yet to announce the release date of the new iPad in China. Apple's entire iPad production is based in China and made by Foxconn Technologies Group, which employs more than 1 million people.
The result in Apple's favour clearly illustrates the ability of Chinese authorities to impartially resolve intellectual property disputes, putting doubting Thomases to rest. Concerns that a negative outcome may have potentially put off technology investors can now be put to rest.
The settlement is a blessing for Apple, which can now focus on conquering one of the largest markets in the world and stamping its presence.
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