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Apple forks out $60m to settle China iPad trademark dispute

apple-ipad-2012-white-black-frontApple has paid out $60 million to settle a trademark dispute in China over the ‘iPad’ name, a court in the country announced on Monday.

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

The near-bankrupt company at the center of the dispute, Shenzhen-based Proview, claimed it had registered the iPad trademark back in 2000, giving it sole rights to use of the name in China.

Apple, however, said it had bought the worldwide rights to the name in 2009 for $55,000 from an affiliate of Proview. And that’s where things got a bit sticky for the California-based tech giant – Proview said its affiliate was not authorized to sell the iPad trademark and therefore the rights to the use of the name in China were never transferred.

A court in China ruled in Proview’s favor in December, agreeing that the company still owned the Chinese rights to the name. Proview even succeeded in getting the tablet pulled from some stores in the Asian nation. The dispute has also delayed the launch of the new iPad in the country.

Desperate to hold the rights to the iPad trademark in a country where sales of its products are skyrocketing, Apple today settled for $60 million.

According to Proview lawyer Xie Xianghui, Proview had been hoping for as much as $400 million but, faced with mounting debts, felt it had to settle sooner rather than later.

An excellent overview of the whole affair by DT’s Geoff Duncan can be found here.

[Source: BBC, AP]