Apple loses 'iPad' trademark in China

A Chinese court has ruled against Apple in an ongoing legal battle over the 'iPad' trademark, which could lead to Apple marketing the highly coveted product under a new name.
Written by Hana Stewart-Smith, Contributor on

Apple prides itself on its brand value. But in China, the technology giant may be forced to sell their iPad tablets under a new moniker.

The world's largest technology company lost an ongoing court battle to use their iPad trademark, after claiming that a Chinese company was infringing on the name with their own product.

The patent court in Shenzen, China ruled in favour of Proview Technology, who had previously trademarked the name 'iPad' in 2000.

Proview sued Apple for 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in October for copyright infringement; likely spurred by its 400 million yuan ($64 million) debt.

Apple had purchased rights to the trademark from Proview's global parent company last year. But the Chinese judiciary clearly did not share the same sentiments.

It has been suggested that Chinese patent law is deliberately designed to favour Chinese based companies, in efforts to protect Chinese intellectual property. This has resulted in Chinese versions of Western brands being protected by patent law, such as Weibo in place of Twitter, and Baidu in place of Google.

China is currently the world's largest smartphone market, after overtaking the U.S. earlier this year.

For Apple, not being able to use one of its universally synonymous brand names will be an unfortunate blow to the company.

Apple did not comment on the ruling.

One question Apple faces is whether it will buy the rights from Proview once more? Or, if the case is upheld, will Apple choose to market the iPad under a different name?


Editorial standards