Apple’s iPad trademark problems in China could get worse

by David Needle

February 21 2012

Who owns the iPad trademark name in China? A high profile dispute over rights to the iPad name between Apple and China’s Proview Technology may not be the only trademark battle facing the consumer technology giant.

At least 39 Chinese companies and individuals have attempted to register the names iPhone or iPad as trademarks for products ranging from hiking shoes, veterinary drug, and diapers, according to an article in China Daily reported this week by Voice of America. 

So far, it doesn’t appear any of these attempts, save for Proview, have succeeded, though the article notes that six manufacturers, including a flashlight manufacturer, got as far as preliminary approval before their applications were challenged.

In the Proview case, the financially troubled Chinese company says it registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, but Apple says it bought rights to the trademark in 10 countries from a Proview affiliate in Taiwan.

Apple won a court judgment in Hong Kong, but Proview won a favorable ruling from a court in the southern Chinese manufacturing hub of Shenzhen that was followed by at least some reported incidents of Chinese officials confiscating iPads to enforce the ruling. 

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