Apple pays £38m in iPad trademark settlement

Apple has agreed to pay $60 million (£38 million) to Proview Electronics in a long-running dispute over the ‘iPad’ trademark.

The Chinese company has claimed that Apple was misleading in its bid to take over ownership of the iPad name when it bought the rights from a Taiwanese subsidiary of Proview in 2009. The paltry £35,000 sale amounted to fraud, Proview alleges.

An attempt to bring the case to court in the US was thrown out by a California judge, but a Chinese court found in December 2011 that Proview was not legally bound to the sale agreement. Following the ruling that it still owned the iPad trademark in China, the company called for Chinese authorities to seize iPads and to an enact a ban on the import and export of the tablets.

The settlement comes ahead of what is expected to be an impending release date for the new iPad in China, and will surely help the company compete in what is currently its second-largest market.

"The iPad dispute resolution is ended," the Guangdong High People's Court said in a statement. "Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million [£38 million] to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter."

Though Proview, which is in considerable debt, had hoped to settle for a figure closer to $400 million (£255 million), "[t]his is a result that is acceptable to both sides," Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for the company, said.