This might surprise you, but back in 1998, you could buy an iPAD in China. The iPAD, an all-in-one computer design from Chinese company Proview, was more of an iMac rip-off than anything, but the company has held onto the name and successfully blocked the sale of the iPad tablet in China. Now, Apple has paid out a reported $60 million for the name.
According to the AP, Apple was fully aware of Proview’s iPAD and even sought to purchase the rights when it went around securing the global rights to the name. In fact, as far as Apple was concerned, the matter was settled when they paid $55,000 to Taiwanese Proview-affiliated company. However, a Chinese court ruled that although the company Apple made the purchase from was indeed part of the Chinese company which held the name, the sale was not legit.
Further complicating the issue was the fact that Apple used a shell company to make the purchase, and Proview is mostly in the hands of banks and creditors at this point.
Legal action from Proview eventually led to the iPad being pulled from store shelves in China, and Proview asking for $400 million for the iPad name. Apple is reported to have offered $16 million in May. The final payout of $60 million paid by Apple to the Guangdong High Court suggests that Apple was better at negotiating.
With the money dished out, Apple is expected to resume the free and unhindered sale of iPads in the country. Which is great news for them, considering the enormous market for consumer electronics the country represents. That is, assuming that knock-off manufacturers haven’t taken advantage of the iPad’s spotty availability and flooded the market with iPüds or something.
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