Apple has paid a Chinese tech firm $60 million in order to end a legal battle over ownership of the iPad brand name.
The seeds of the legal battle for the iPad name in China were sown in 2001, when a struggling computer monitor manufacturer, Shenzhen Proview Technology, filed a trademark on the 'IPAD' name for use in its displays.
When Apple began shipping iPads to China in 2010, Proview Technology petitioned the Chinese courts to ban the sale of the tablets until its dispute with Apple was settled.
Concurrently, a company that was handling Proview’s financial restructuring at the time threatened Apple with a $1.6 billion lawsuit for copyright infringement.
An iPad by any other name
Apple responded to the petition by citing a 2009 purchase of the 'IPAD' trademark from Proview’s Taiwanese office for $55,000. Proview responded with claims that the Taiwanese unit was not authorised to sell the trademark and the legal battle continued.
Proview has done a complete volte-face from this position and has accepted a $60 million settlement from Apple, which is now the exclusive owner of the iPad trademark in China.
While the price of the settlement may seem steep, the Proview payout is a small cost for Apple to bear overall.
China currently accounts for 20 per cent of Apple's global sales (second only to the United States) and with the iPad name now firmly back in Apple's stable, one can expect steady and stratospheric growth from Apple in the Chinese market.