While last week saw Apple gain a substantial legal foothold in an ongoing patent dispute with Samsung, with a US court ruling that sales of the Samsung Galaxy nexus be suspended in the united states (with a earlier ruling similarly blocking the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) until the patent dispute between the two companies is settled, half way across the world, the tech giant has just settled a trademark dispute with a Chinese company, paying a sum of $60 million.
Apple had been engaged in a trademark dispute with Proview Technology (Shenzen) over the rights to the usage of the name ‘iPad’ in China, which the Chinese company had registered to their name more than a decade ago in 2001. Of course the iPad is Apple’s best selling tablet PC, which in China alone accounts for 70 per cent of the tablet PC market.
The trademark dispute between the two countries stemmed from the fact that while parent company, Hong Kong registered Proview International Holdings Ltd. Had been paid by Apple for the iPad trademark in most countries, a unit of the company, Proview Technology (Shenzen) argued that it had not been dealt with as it owned the trademark in China which a Chinese court upheld. Proview technology (Shenzen) moved to block the sale of the iPad in China with sales of the tablet being affected and the release of its newest model halted. The two companies were asked to reach in settlement in February and Proview Technology (Shenzen) even tried to sue in Apple in the United States back in May but the case was dismissed.
Proview technology (Shenzen) once a global manufacturer of monitors has since reached near-bankruptcy and its suit against Apple was for an amount of 10 billion yuan or nearly $1.57 billion. Now with the settlement, which was announced on the Higher People's Court of Guangdong province website, Apple has paid Proview Technology (Shenzen) a sum of $60 million, and will now be able to get on with sales of its tablet PC unhindered. From china alone, Apple has made $7.9 billion from second quarter sales this year and has shipped some 6 million iPads to mainland China.
Of course the settlement payment will prove beneficial to Proview Technology (Shenzen) as creditors had been lining up with Taiwan's Fubon Insurance for example, recently applying for bankruptcy proceedings against Proview for payment of $8.68 million in outstanding debt.
Commenting, IDC analyst, Teck-Zhung Wong said, “The settlement is great news for Apple. It just allows them to get on with business and stop being distracted. The new iPad has been so late to the China market that if they drag it any longer, Apple will stand to lose quite a bit more,” while Chen Jihong of the Zhong Lun Law Firm added, "The settlement fee is not bad for Proview, because although Proview owns the trademark, it was Apple, not Proview, who created the brand's value.”