There has been some confusion with regards to the trademark issues that Apple has been over the “iPad” name in China.
Apple requesting Amazon China to remove iPad 2 from their websites yesterday only added to the confusion.
We finally seem to have got some clarity on the issue. Wall Street Journal reports that Apple did indeed request Amazon China to stop selling iPads on their website, but that was because Amazon China is not an authorized reseller. Apple continues to sell iPad through authorized channels.
Apple Inc. asked Amazon.com Inc. to remove iPad 2 tablet computers sold by resellers from its Chinese website, according to people familiar with the matter, who say the request was made because the site is not authorized to sell the device.
Amazon pulled resellers’ iPads from sale as local officials in some parts of the country have been confiscating iPads from retailers, as a result of a two-year-old trademark dispute between the Cupertino, California consumer-electronics giant and a Shenzhen, China-based subsidiary of Proview International Holdings Ltd.
Wall Street Journal also provides some details about the trademark infringement issue that Apple is fighting with Proview Technology. It looks like Apple won a court case on the trademark issue against Proview in HongKong. In fact, the court ruled that Proview and its subsidiaries had conspired against Apple to get more money out of them.
In its decision, not previously reported, the court said Proview had breached an earlier agreement to transfer the iPad name to Apple. It said Apple used a subsidiary called IP Application Development Ltd. to purchase the rights to the iPad name in December 2009, roughly a month before Apple’s tablet device was first unveiled. Following the release, Proview did not reassign the iPad name to Apple in China, according to the court document, but instead, asked Apple to pay US$10 million for the China trademark.
The court found that Proview, its subsidiaries and at least one other company had conspired to injure Apple by breaching the agreement over the iPad name, and that Proview had “attempted to exploit the situation as a business opportunity,” by asking for money.
It’s strange that court in China ruled in favor of Proview. The world will be watching the outcome of Apple’s appeal in higher courts.