A rep for a Taiwanese company that claims to own the rights to the term “iPad” in China says Apple is about to be hit by a $38 million fine for continuing to use the name.
Four years before Apple introduced the iPad in 2010, it bought the trademark “iPad” from a Taiwanese display manufacturer, Proview Electronics, but the rights to use the name may not extend into China.
Proview Technology (Shenzhen), a unit of Proview International in Hong Kong, now claims to own the rights to use “iPad” in China, Apple Insider reports. Proview sued Apple last December for $1.6 billion. A Chinese court ruled in favor of Proview, but Apple is appealing the decision.
According to The Global Times, the Chinese government has launched a probe into Apple’s possible trademark infringement as it considers the case. Proview Shenzhen’s lawyer, Xie Xianghui, told the publication that a court in the Xicheng district of Beijing had planned to “slap Apple with a 240 million yuan ($38 million) fine,” but suspended the fine after Apple objected. Apple claims that a Proview Shenzhen sold the iPad trademark rights to a UK-based company called “IP Applications,” which sold the trademark to Apple in 2010.
A rep for the Xicheng district administration, meanwhile, told the publication that the court had never announced any such fine.
In addition to the fine, Xie told China Daily that the company will demand an apology from Apple over the issue.
Reps from Apple could not be reached for comment.
This isn’t the first time a high-profile Apple product has run into trademark issues. Apple and Cisco both fought over the iPhone name before settling the issue in 2007.