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Apple pay $60m to end trademark dispute

Apple conclude iPad trademark dispute in China.

Apple has paid $60m (£38.2m) to end a dispute over the iPad trademark in China. The result marks the end of a long-running legal battle between Apple and the Chinese firm Shenzhen Proview Technology. The dispute has caused delays to the launch of the iPad in China and consequently decreased sales in Apple's fastest growing market.

The legal challenge arose when Shenzhen Proview Technology declared ownership of the "iPad" name, contesting claims by Apple that they had bought the global rights to the trademark in 2009. The Chinese authorities stated that Proview Technology still owned the name in China.

The settlement of £60m is a small price for Apple and will allow the company to extend its global dominance through an extension of its popular tablet PC into Apple's second largest market outside the US. 

The dispute has highlighted the possibility of further problems regarding China's relatively young trademark system and demontrates the challenges the communist government face in attracting technology investors as part of a more general attempt to develop the Chinese economy.

Stan Abrams, an American lawyer who teaches intellectual property law in Beijing, has warned that an atypical case such as this will offer little "long-term lessons" about the future of commercial disputes in China. This claim however, does little to reassure investors against claims that Beijing is doing little to eliminate unlicensed Chinese companies copying international goods.