The Chinese government has finally gone on record in the fight over the iPad trademark, and its comments are sure to not please Apple.
While Apple and Proview are in talks to settle the dispute over which company owns the iPad trademark in mainland China, the Chinese government has finally decided to speak out on the matter. Speaking to Reuters at a press conference in Beijing, Fu Shuangjian, a deputy director of SAIC (State Administration for Industry and Commerce) said, “According to the … provisions of the China Trademark Law, currently Shenzhen Proview is the legal registrant of the iPad trademark.”
The entire fight stems from when Apple used a front company to purchase the trademark in 10 countries from the Taiwanese arm of Proview, including amongst those locales was mainland China. Shenzhen Proview, the parent company of the branch in Taiwan, claims that its subsidiary never had the rights to sell that version of the trademark. The now bankrupt Proview has been dragging Apple through various courts in China over the matter, and now the two companies have confirmed that talks are underway to try to settle the matter out of court.
Fu went on to say, “This case has a huge impact and the final court ruling would directly influence who owns the iPad trademark. The commerce department will (take the matter) very seriously.” While these comments should, in theory, have no impact on a court ruling in the matter, it is sure to send a shiver up the collective spine of Apple that it may not win its current appeal that is due to be heard by the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong Province.
Despite the evidence surrounding this case that pretty clearly states that the trademark was sold to Apple, it appears that it may be better off settling out of court. The only question is just how much that bill might ring up to.