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Apple settles iPad trademark fight

Apple paid $60 million to Proview International in China

Associated Press

Apple paid $60 million to Proview International in China

BEIJING — Apple, the world’s most valuable company, has paid $60 million to settle a two-year-old legal dispute with Proview International Holdings regarding the iPad trademark in China.

The agreement was reached June 25, and Apple has transferred the funds, the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong Province announced on its website Monday.

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The case had threatened sales of the second-best-selling product of Apple, which had $110.2 billion in cash and investments on its balance sheet at the end of March, in its largest market outside the United States. Proview had sought to block shipments of Apple’s iPad tablets in and out of China and asked local retailers to stop sales of the product.

‘‘If I’m Apple, I’m pretty happy, because this amount of money to them is nothing,’’ said Stan Abrams, an intellectual property lawyer and a law professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.

An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately return calls for comment.

The dispute had centered on whether Proview’s Taiwan unit, which Apple paid $54,800 in 2009 to use the iPad name in mainland China, had the right to sell it or whether that rested with Proview’s Shenzhen unit, which held the mark. Apple sued Proview Shenzhen in 2010, claiming ownership of the iPad trademark in China, and lost. Its appeal was heard Feb. 29, and the two sides had engaged in court-sponsored mediation since then.

Apple’s revenue in China tripled to $7.9 billion last quarter, helped by surging demand for products including the iPad. The California company’s global sales of iPads topped 32 million units last year, for revenue of $20.4 billion. In less than two years, the device has become the company’s second-best-selling product by revenue, behind the iPhone.

Proview’s wholly owned subsidiary, Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co., obtained the iPad trademark in China in 2001, according to a Feb. 3, 2010, regulatory filing. The mark was obtained for a desktop terminal with touch-screen display called the Internet Personal Access Device, or IPAD, that the company developed starting in 1998.

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