In 1998 a company called Proview began work on its new product called the “iPAD” or internet Personal Access Device. The early, all in one personal computer was released in the same year as internationally renowned financial giant Apple’s iMac. This was originally seen as being nothing more than a slightly amusing if not amusingly suspicious coincidence, until the release of Apple’s iPAD range and its import and subsequent release in China. At this point things became a little more than “awkward” and a court case ensued.
It seems that Proview bought rights to the iPAD title in 2000, although Apple have insisted that they purchased the worldwide rights to the same name in 2009. In fact Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate company sold the global rights to Apple, but despite this Proview have claimed that their affiliates had no right to sell the Chinese rights to Apple and therefore they were not legal.
This legal dispute caused Apple products been removed from a variety shops across different parts of China, which has quickly become one of the world’s biggest markets for Apple products. Proview even tried to have sales of the iPAD completely banned in Shanghai but this request was denied by the court.
The long coming legal debate has finally reached a head in court and after being asked by a Guangdong court to come to some form of agreement a settlement was reached. In the settlement Apple has paid $60 Million in order to continue selling its products unhindered in China.
It has been suggested by a lawyer in a recent interview that both Apple and Proview are pleased with the result of the case. But despite this statement analysts have said that it is likely Apple only agreed to settle the dispute, in order to prevent any further disruption to the sales of their products within one of their biggest markets.
Proview had previously lodged a different case against Apple although this was over US usage and marketing. Proview had claimed that Apple deceived it into selling the rights to the name by setting up an alternatively named company entitled IP Application Development Ltd or IPADL in the UK. Despite a lengthy process this case was thrown out of court.
With a settlement now having been reached over use of the name in China, it is thought that Proview will not take any further action against the international I.T. giant.