Apple may lose the trademark of its popular tablet computer in China after a Chinese patent court rejected its ownership of the trademark in the country.
According to Chinese newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, a court in Shenzhen rejected Apple's claim that Shenzhen-based Proview Technology infringed upon the iPad trademark in China. Apple confirmed the lawsuit but declined further comment.
The court ruled that Apple's purchase of a "global trademark" for iPad from Taiwanese company, Proview Electronics, did not apply to the trademark owned by its Shenzhen-based subsidiary, said the Chinese papers. Therefore, Apple had no rights to the iPad trademark in China, said the report.
The case is part of the year-long lawsuit between Apple and Proview Technology. A 2010 report by ZDNet Asia's sister site CNET News explained that Proview Electronics registered for the "i-Pad" trademark in China and other markets such as the European Union, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Mexico between 2000 and 2004.
In 2006, the Taiwanese company sold the "global trademark" for iPad to U.S. company, IP Application Development, which was later believed to be a front for Apple, said the CNET report. When Proview Electronics ran into financial trouble and its assets in China were seized, its creditors attempted to sell Proview's trademarks but Apple stepped in and sued Proview to force it to hand over the trademark in China to IP Application Development.
In 2010 when the iPad was first announced, Apple did not own the trademark of iPad in the United States. It took some weeks for Apple to negotiate with Fujitsu before the Japanese company turned over the trademark to Apple.
Despite the comparatively high pricepoints of Apple products, the Chinese market has been receptive to Cupertino. A market analyst noted that the Apple brand and usability of the Apple iOS were expected to drive sales of the iPad despite competition from cheaper products. Other predictions noted that China would become Apple's largest market by 2014.