A Chinese court has rejected Apple’s lawsuit over the “iPad” name, ruling in favor of a Chinese company that registered the name in 2000, ten years before Apple brought its own iPad to market. For those keeping score at home, that’s even a year before Apple released the iPod.
According to Reuters, Apple brought the suit against a Shenzen company called Proview Technology in the Intermediate People’s Court in that district. Proview Technology had registered the mark for use in China, and the court found that its trademark was legal.
What ramifications this will have for Apple remain to be seen, and the company hasn’t yet commented on the case other than to tell Reuters that it was involved in the suit.
Under a worse-case scenario for Apple, the company could concievably be forced to use a different name for its iPad tablet in China. While we won’t pretend to be experts in Chinese law, that would probably require a lawsuit from Proview—Apple losing its own trademark case is not the same as Proview winning an injunction against Apple.
A licensing deal with Proview Technology would seem more likely, however, and Apple has plenty of money, and then some, to reach an accord with the firm. The Chinese market has been exploding for Apple, and the company is investing serious resources into expanding its retail presence in the country. Having to use a different name for the iPad would likely cramp the company’s style.