Apple Settles China iPad Dispute

A Chinese provincial court said in a statement on Monday that Apple had settled a lawsuit by paying $60 million into a court-approved bank account for the legal rights to use the iPad trademark in China.

“It was done last week and it was confirmed with a ruling by the higher court,” that was issued on Monday morning, said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for the Chinese company involved, Proview Technology (Shenzhen).

It should take only a week or two for China’s national trademark authority to transfer the iPad trademark for China to Apple, added Mr. Xie, of the Grandall Legal Group in Shenzhen.

Mr. Xie said that Proview Technology did not regard the settlement amount as especially large, “but it is O.K.”

Proview Technology is insolvent and close to liquidation, and the money in the court-approved bank account will be used to repay some of its creditors, he said.

Apple had been in settlement negotiations this spring after the authorities in at least two Chinese cities began seizing iPads in February.

The U.S. technology company did not immediately respond on Monday to requests for comment.

According to testimony in the legal fight, Apple retained British lawyers several years ago to set up a company, IP Application Development, to buy up rights to the iPad name around the world. Apple paid only £35,000 to a Proview Technology affiliate in Taiwan for that company’s iPad trademarks in various countries.

But when Apple introduced the iPad with immediate success, Proview Technology (Shenzhen) said that the transaction had not included the trademark for China. The operation in the city of Shenzhen, in Guangdong Province in southeastern China, filed a trademark infringement case against Apple in a Shenzhen court, and the case ended up in provincial court

The Guangdong High People’s Court in Guangzhou, a metropolis of 12 million people that is the provincial capital, said on Monday that the two sides had reached the settlement and that this would end the litigation.

Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, has emerged as Apple’s second-largest market after the United States.

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