Although Apple jumped out to an early lead in the tablet market with its 2010 debut of the iPad, the company may soon lose the rights to the name of its prized product following recent developments in a trademark dispute with Shenzhen, China-based Proview Technology.
According to Business Insider contributor, and Beijing-based intellectual property attorney, Stan Abrams, Proview formerly acquired ownership of the "IPAD" trademark in mainland China through a subsidiary more than a decade ago. The company then registered its IPAD trademark in offices across China, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and the European Union between 2000 and 2004.
"Apple's actions are strange," a spokesman for management consultancy firm Hejun Vanguard told Business Insider. "They had not obtained the rights to use the 'iPad' trademark when they began to sell the iPad on the Chinese mainland in September last year."
According to the Associated Press, Apple did secure an agreement with Taiwanese affiliate Proview Taipei in 2009, obtaining the trademarks for $54,700. However, a recent ruling has upheld Proview's mainland trademarking rights, citing the absence of any Shenzhen delegates in the 2009 negotiations.
As a result of Apple's actions, Proview is now seeking $1.6 billion in damages in a countersuit. Pending appeals, the company will also lose the rights to its iPad trademark in one of the world's largest emerging markets.