Apple Inc. has agreed to pay $60 million to Shenzhen-based Proview International Holdings Ltd. to settle a Chinese court dispute over the use of the "iPad" trademark in China.
According to a report of the Guangdong High People's Court, the settlement funds have been transferred into the court's account. With the case settled, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple will own the "iPad" trademark in mainland China.
The closely watched case stemmed from Proview's registration of an iPad trademark for a desktop computer in 2001. Later in 2009, a company set up by Apple bought the rights to it from Proview for around $55,000, but the Chinese company later claimed that deal was only with a Taiwan-based affiliate and did not cover trademark in mainland China. Though a Hong Kong court ruled in Apple's favor, two lower courts in China's Guangdong province found for Proview.
The case focused great attention on the Chinese court system, as well as possible missteps early in the process by Apple's legal team.
According to a February article by The Wall Street Journal, Proview was reportedly seeking compensation of as much as $2 billion from Apple. The newspaper now reports that Proview may be accepting a much lower settlement because it is already in bankruptcy and has about $400 million in debt. The amount is very small compared to Apple's sales in China; the company had $8 billion in sales there in the first quarter of 2012.
As reported by The Asian Lawyer earlier this year, Shi Yusheng of King & Wood Mallesons and Hu Jinnan of Shenzhen-based Guangdong Shendadi represented Apple. IP Application Development Ltd., the company set up by Apple to acquire the trademarks, was represented by Guangdong Shendadi's Yang Hao and King & Wood's Qiao Hongbin. Proview was represented by Xie Xianghui of Grandall Law Firm and Xiao Caiyuan of Guangzhou firm GuangHe.