US technology giant Apple has paid US$60 million to a Chinese firm to settle a long-running dispute over the iPad trademark in China, a court said on Monday.
The government body overseeing trademarks has been asked to immediately recognise Apple’s rights to the iPad name, the High Court of the southern province of Guangdong said in a statement on its website.
Apple last week paid US$60 million to settle the dispute, according to the statement.
“This means that the dispute between Apple and Shenzhen Proview over the rights to the iPad brand is resolved in a satisfactory manner,” the statement said.
Proview Technology, based in the southern city of Shenzhen, had been locked in a legal battle with Apple over ownership of the Chinese rights to the “iPad” trademark, which both claimed as their own.
The Taiwanese affiliate of Proview Technology registered “iPad” as a trademark in several countries including China as early as 2000 – years before Apple began selling its hugely successful tablet computer.
Apple subsequently bought the rights for the global trademark – including from the Taiwanese affiliate – but Proview said the deal did not include the rights for mainland China.
The US tech giant last year took Proview to court in China, claiming trademark infringement, but the court ruled Apple lacked “supporting facts and evidence” for its claim.
Apple is hugely popular in China, where die-hard fans have been known to line up for days to get their hands on its latest offerings.
Greater China – which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan – has become Apple’s fastest-growing region, with revenues second only to the United States.
Apple officials were not immediately available for comment on Monday’s announcement.