"Chinese apples" is an English term for pomegranate.
Pomegranates seem to be plentiful these days, but there is another
Chinese apple that is facing extinction: the Apple iPad.
Recently, a Chinese court determined that Chinese tech company
Proview Technology (Shenzen) Co. Ltd. was the owner of the mark
"iPad" in China. Proview obtained a registration of iPad
in 2001, and the court found that Apple had produced no evidence
that Proview obtained that registration in bad faith. Apple claims
it bought the rights to iPad from Proview, but the court disagreed
and found Apple liable for infringement.
Under Chinese law, Proview is now getting Chinese authorities to
seize Apple iPad tablets in China, and is seeking a ban on all
exports of Apple iPad products made in China. That means that none
of Apple's Chinese-made iPad products would be able to leave
the country. The ban would also apply to the importation of any
iPad products into China.
Proview is also seeking $38 million in damages and an apology
from Apple. Proview also has another case pending against Apple in
which Proview is seeking $1.5 billion for copyright infringement.
Needless to say, this is causing huge headaches for Apple Inc.
What are the lessons here?
Putting political views aside, the key takeaway is this:
register your trademarks in China as early as possible. Unlike in
the United States, where trademark rights are based on use of a
mark in commerce, trademark rights in China are based on
registration. It's possible for an entity in China that is not
making your product to obtain a Chinese registration for your
trademark. That entity could then use that registration to block
you from importing or branding your trademarked products in China.
You want to be the first to register your trademarks in China, so
you don't need to buy the rights to your own mark from someone
else — or face infringement litigation for using your own
If your business plans include manufacturing in or selling to
China, make sure your trademarks are protected in China by
registering early. We are able to work with Chinese trademark
lawyers on your behalf to make sure your rights in China are fully
protected. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more
Otherwise, some rotten apple might spoil your piece of the
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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