Apple defends claims to iPad trademark in Chinese court hearing

Apple is locked in a legal battle with a Chinese firm over who owns the iPad trademark in China

Apple's lawyers defended the company's claims to the iPad trademark in China on Wednesday during a high-stakes court hearing that could decide whether Chinese authorities ban the tablet for trademark infringement.

"Among consumers across the world, the iPad trademark is already uniquely connected with Apple," said company lawyer Shi Yusheng. "When consumers see a tablet with an iPad trademark, they know it comes from Apple, and not from another company.

The court hearing at the Guangdong Province Higher People's Court was held after Apple filed an appeal to a December ruling that rejected the U.S. tech giant's claims to ownership over the iPad trademark in the country.

Apple contends it bought the trademarks in 2009 from Chinese firm Proview, a financially-struggling display vendor. But Proview has argued the rights were never formally transferred, and has further responded by filing its own lawsuits and complaints, requesting the Chinese government stop all iPad sales in the country.

If Apple's appeal is rejected, Proview's request to stop iPad sales will likely be granted as more than 30 commercial regulatory offices are already investigating the matter. Last week, a Shanghai court also temporarily suspended hearings on whether to halt iPad sales in Apple's Shanghai stores until the Guangdong superior court made its ruling on the appeal.

On Wednesday, Apple and Proview lawyers exchanged arguments during the court hearing, which lasted more than six hours, but resulted in no ruling by the end of the day. Apple's lawyers claimed that Proview's top management had full knowledge that the company was selling off the iPad trademark, citing emails sent by Proview representatives in 2009. Apple's lawyers also argued that it would be unfair if the court ruled against the company, given that it was Apple which made the iPad name famous.

"The iPad name is already synonymous with tablets," Shi said. "People say they will go buy an iPad, not that they will buy a tablet that's manufactured by Apple and has the iPad brand."

Proview's lawyers, however, said Apple was using its popularity to get away with trademark theft. They added that the iPad trademark rights were never transferred because Apple's contract to buy the rights were signed with a Proview subsidiary in Taiwan, which has no authority to sell off the iPad trademark for mainland China.

"The emails Apple provided show a two-sided business discussion with a goal of signing a contract," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview. "But according to business practices, discussions do not constitute a contract, whether they be done through email or oral communications."

Xie said in an interview after the court hearing that Apple provided no new evidence in its appeal. Proview is open to negotiations with Apple to settle the dispute, although no such discussions have begun, he said.

Earlier this month, a Proview representative said the company wanted Apple to pay US$400 million for the iPad trademark.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?