Apple pays $60 million to settle China iPad trademark dispute

Mon Jul 2, 2012 2:01pm EDT
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By Melanie Lee and Samuel Shen

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Apple Inc has paid $60 million to Proview Technology (Shenzhen) to end a protracted legal dispute over the iPad trademark in China.

The lawsuit had hampered some sales and delayed the introduction of the new iPad in China. Prior to the launch, Proview requested authorities in scores of Chinese cities to order resellers to take all iPads off their shelves.

The court-mediated settlement, announced on the website of the Higher People's Court of Guangdong province, will allow Apple to get on with selling its popular tablet PC in one of its most important markets, analysts said.

"The settlement is great news for Apple," said Teck-Zhung Wong, a Beijing-based analyst with technology research firm IDC. "It just allows them to get on with business and stop being distracted. The new iPad has been so late to the China market that if they drag it any longer, Apple will stand to lose quite a bit more."

China is a key growth area for Apple, and Chief Executive Tim Cook has often said that the company has only scratched the surface in the region.

Sales in greater China - mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan - increased threefold to $7.9 billion in the second quarter ended on March 31, accounting for about 20 percent of Apple's $39.2 billion in revenue.

The settlement with Proview paves the way to spark iPad sales for the September quarter, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said.

"Apple lifted its two-iPad-per-shopper policy in Hong Kong in what we believe may have been driven by demand from mainland China as many Apple products make their way over to the mainland," he said. "Today's iPad settlement is important and opens up the sale of the new iPad."   Continued...

A woman stands near an Apple billboard advertising the iPad 2 in downtown Shanghai in this March 1, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files