Taiwanese Company Sells They Own The iPad Name In China, Sues Apple For Damages

Taiwanese Company Sells They Own The iPad Name In China, Sues Apple For Damages

The iPad is synonymous with Apple, but according to Taiwan-based company Proview, Cupertino is stomping all over their trademark on the ‘IPad’ name… and they want Apple to pay up.

These days, Proview is a company known only by a few industry insiders as a contract manufacturer of flat screen displays, but flash back ten years ago and the Taiwanese company made a go of bring a tablet computer named the “I-Pad” to market. Indeed, trademark databases show Proview as having registered both the IPAD and I-Pad name in the EU, China, South Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam between 2000 and 2004.

So far, so good… but according to Proview’s chairman, the company agreed to sell the global trademark to IPAD to US-registered group “IP Application Development” for the sum of $55,104 in 2006. Apple, in turn, bought the IPAD name from IP Application Development earlier this year. That would seemingly make Apple legally in the right when it comes to the iPad trademark.

So what’s Proview’s beef? Apparently, even though Proview sold the “global trademark” to IPAD back in 2006, they are now claiming that this deal did not include the IPAD trademark in China. Now lawsuits are flying back and forth as Proview tries to sue Apple for infringing on their trademark in China, while Apple is trying to get the Chinese courts to assign the Chinese trademark for IPAD to IP Application Development’s division in China… a move which would give Apple total control over the iPad trademark internationally.

Messy, but Apple has a lot more money to throw at the dispute than Proview. iPad will belong to Apple in the end, one way or another.

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  • brendan kirk

    There are a number of knock-off products (tablet PC) that are coming out of China that bear the name iPad. While most consumers would take one look and laugh at them, there are always the ones who will see “iPad for only $150!!!!!” and click -Add to Cart-, sight unseen. Take a world with plenty of gullible people with too much money and you have a not too shabby profit for some third rate electronics company. I’m sure two days out of the box and it’s a paperweight. I have a friend who’s an Apple Store tech and some guy brought one in claiming he’d bought the “Apple Care” package too. The funny thing is that he had actually viewed images of the product before buying it! He thought that different models had different designs.
    So I’m sure that the Chinese ownership of this name is/was a nice way for someone to make a good bit of money with a crap product by labeling it an iPad and they don’t want to give that up. More likely- Apple tears them a new one.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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