The iPad maker is defending the moniker by insisting the device has become synonymous with both the company name and the tablets. PCWorldquotes Apple’s legal representatives who argued at the Guangdong Province Higher People’s Court hearing this morning that Apple made the iPad name famous in the first place:
Among consumers across the world, the iPad trademark is already uniquely connected with Apple. When consumers see a tablet with an iPad trademark, they know it comes from Apple, and not from another company.
As no ruling was reached during the six-hour long hearing, the judges adjourned it without setting a new court date. Should Apple lose the appeal, Proview’s request to put a sales ban on iPad in 30 Chinese cities will be given a go-ahead and Apple would risk lawsuits seeking damages. Last week, the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court rejected a preliminary iPad sales injunction until the Guangdong court made its ruling on the appeal.
Apple’s argument might actually backfire as its legal stand-off with Proview has blown up. Wikipediahas it that“a trademark owner takes a risk in engaging in such a corrective campaign because the campaign may serve as an admission that the trademark is generic”. I am no lawyer but it seems obvious Apple might be calling upon itself long-term damage with this testimony.
Arguing that the iPad has become the generic term for the tablet theoretically means anyone could use it as a descriptor. Besides, why do you think Proview brought the iPad name battle to the United States? The opposite argument would be that it’s Apple actually owning the iPad name and they’re the only company marketing a product that has become synonymous for tablets in the first place.
According toBloomberg, Apple’s lawyers claimed letting Proview use the iPad moniker would confuse consumers and harm their interests. This is in line with Apple’s prior stance that a sales ban would hurt China’s national interest because the gadget is being manufactured in Foxconn’s Shenzen plants that employ up to a million workers assembling Apple gadgets. Proview is looking for an out-of-court settlement, allegedly seeking a $400 million compensation from Apple in exchange to use the iPad name in mainland China – a far cry from the initial $2 billion target.
Proview recently filed for bankruptcy and is in dire straits and strapped for cash. The company made an iMac-like computer back in 2000 dubbed the I-PAD. The company is insisting that the iPad being synonymous with tablets doesn’t change the fact that Apple set up a United Kingdom-based company which secretly obtained the iPad trademark from Proview in 2009, valid in ten countries, for a mere $55,000. That company didn’t divulge Apple was the buyer, therefore misleading Proview, in their lawyers’ opinion. They are also arguing that the iPad trademark rights were never transferred because Apple’s signed a contract with a Proview subsidiary that has no authority to sell off the iPad trademark for mainland China. Proview’s lawyers also claim no one in the company’s Shenzen headquarters knew their Taiwan unit signed away the China trademarks. Put simply, Proview Taiwan agreed to sign over the trademark, but Proview Taiwan didn’t own the trademark. What a mind job, huh?
As of December 31, 2011, Apple sold a cumulative 55.28 million iPad units around the world. The original iPad went on sale on April 3, 2010 in the United States, followed by the release of iPad 2 in March 2011. For the whole calendar year 2011, iPad sales reached 32 million worldwide unit, enough for a cool revenue of $20.4 billion. Apple is gearing up for a third-generation iPad introduction slated for next Wednesday, March 8, at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10am PST. 9to5Mac will be providing live coverage of the announcements as they go down.