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China court: Apple pays $60M to settle iPad case

By Joe McDonald

AP Business Writers


BEIJING >> Apple has paid $60 million to settle a dispute in China over ownership of the iPad name, a court announced Monday, removing a potential obstacle to sales of the popular tablet computer in the key Chinese market.

Apple's dispute with Shenzhen Proview Technology highlighted the possible pitfalls for global companies in China's infant trademark system. It also posed a challenge for the communist government, which wants to attract technology investors to develop China's economy.

Apple Inc. says it bought the global rights to the iPad name from Proview in 2009 but Chinese authorities say the rights in China were never transferred. A Chinese court ruled in December that Proview still owned the name in China. Proview, which is struggling financially, asked Chinese authorities to seize iPads in an apparent effort to pressure Apple to settle.

"The iPad dispute resolution is ended," the Guangdong High People's Court said in a statement. "Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter."

China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States and the source of much of the Cupertino, California-based company's sales growth.

Proview hoped for more money but felt pressure to settle because it needs to pay debts, said a lawyer for the company, Xie Xianghui. He said Proview sought as much as $400 million and might still be declared bankrupt in a separate legal proceeding despite the infusion of settlement money.

"This is a result that is acceptable to both sides," Xie said.

The dispute centered on whether Apple acquired the iPad name in China when it bought rights in various countries from a Proview affiliate in Taiwan for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000). The December court ruling said Proview, which registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, was not bound by that sale, even though it was part of the same company.

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Apple resolves iPad dispute in China

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onevoice82 wrote:
Apple, you paid too much IMO. I still think the name reminds me of a feminin napkin.
on July 2,2012 | 05:20AM
localguy wrote:
Just another day in a totally corrupt country, ripping off more people. This is what the high level, clueless, Chinese bureaucrats do.
on July 2,2012 | 09:05AM
droid wrote:
Like Classic_59Chevy says, they can’t be that clueless if they suckered Apple out of $60 million. That money goes back into the Chinese economy.
on July 2,2012 | 02:01PM
mynah wrote:
60 million is a mere toll fee for Apple which now has clear sailing to billion$.
on July 2,2012 | 10:24AM
kauai wrote:
I'm no Apple fan, but this is obviously a ransom for a blackmail, or a payoff to a thug. That being said, it's not surprising coming from a regime which generally ignores patents, trademarks and intellectual property rights. And when they can't get it through more benign means, then they hack/steal/infiltrate via the internet.
on July 2,2012 | 10:39AM
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