July 2, 2012
Apple Pays Proview $60 Million, Could Finally Bring New iPad To The East
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Some of Apple´s high-profile legal battles have come to a close in recent weeks. Paying out a nice, round $2 million to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Cupertino company appeased their federal court system for labeling their iPad as 4G in the Land Down Under. A few days later, Judge Richard Posner threw out, with prejudice, Apple´s patent infringement case with Motorola, while Judge Lucy Koh has temporarily banned the sale of Samsung´s Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well as Google´s popular Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
Now, as an end to one of their longer legal battles, Apple has decided to settle their iPad trademark dispute with Proview Technologies, paying out a sum of $60 million, according to a Chinese provincial court. Proview Technologies has been pursuing Apple over 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,” said Xie Xianghui, a Proview Technology lawyer, according to New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher.
"This means that the dispute between Apple and Shenzhen Proview over the rights to the iPad brand is resolved in a satisfactory manner," read the official court statement, according to the Associated Press.
Filing for bankruptcy and unable to pay back their loans from local banks and businesses, Proview had been stubbornly seeking some $400 million from Apple in this process.
Just weeks before iPad made its official entrance to the world, Apple – disguised under the name IP Application Development – purchased the iPad trademark from Proview Technologies for a paltry $55,000. In late 2010, Proview began accusing Apple of trying to purchase the trademark under a false name, therefore rendering the sale invalid. Furthermore, Proview claimed the use of the iPad trademark in China was also invalid, saying their $55,000 only bought them rights to use the trademark in Taiwan.
Throughout the battle, Apple stores in China continued to stock and sell iPads, though some local media had reported iPads had been seized in 2 Chinese cities. Apple´s $60 million not only appeases Proview and the local courts, it also opens the door to begin selling their new iPad to China, as Apple had likely been waiting for this legal wrangling to come to an end before they started shipping their newest device to the Chinese people. China has quickly become quite a large market for Apple, boosting sales of both their tablets and smartphones. Apple has even begun to incorporate some China-specific elements into their iOS and Mac OS X offerings.
As for Proview, the financially troubled display maker will have to make do with their $60 million, which was paid out last week.
"We previously hoped that the compensation would be $400 million, so that it would be enough to pay back all the debts," Xie told the Associated Press.
"We think the iPad trademark is worth more than the amount Apple will pay. It is not satisfactory, but it is acceptable.”
Though Proview was asking for much more, the courts may insisted they take what they could.
"Court mediation gave us some pressure,” said Xie.