Domino effect: Apple sued again over Snow Leopard trademark in China

Commodities company Jiangsu Xuebao sues Apple for knowingly infringing its Snow Leopard trademark in China, seeking US$79,000 and apology as compensation.

Apple is once again embroiled in yet another trademark lawsuit in China--this time, with its Snow Leopard operating system (OS) in question.

Jiangsu Xuebao, a Chinese chemical company which manufactures daily commodity products ranging from toothpaste to shoe polish, said the Apple OS--launched in 2009--contravenes its Chinese name "Xuebao" for which it had filed for the trademark back in 2000, according to a report by Chinese news site cnYes.com on Thursday.

It claims Apple is "making a knowing infringement" since the U.S. company tried to apply for the "Snow Leopard" trademark in China in 2008, but was rejected by the trademark office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

The commodity producer added it is in possession of 42 registered trademarks for Snow Leopard across different classes of products, including that of computer products, which it had made since 1994.

The Chinese company brought the case to a court in Shanghai, and also filed a lawsuit against several companies that advertise and sell Apple's Snow Leopard operating system. It is seeking compensation of 500,000 yuan (US$79,000) and an open apology from Cupertino.

The lawsuit came right after Apple paid US$60 million to settle the iPad trademark dispute with Proview Technology. Some Chinese netizens teased that private enterprises in China had found "a new tactic to make money".

Jiangsu Xuebao on Jul. 4 claimed its lawsuit should not be compared with the Proview case, since the amount it was seeking was "nominal". Its ultimate goal is to have Apple stop using the Snow Leopard trademark and apologize for the infringement.

The Shanghai court will start its hearing on Jul. 10, according to the Chinese company. It said it was not clear how Apple will respond to the case.