SHENZHEN, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Apple may have to sell its popular iPad tablet computers under a new name on the Chinese mainland in the future if it does not first purchase the trademark from a Chinese tech firm.
The Municipal Intermediate People's Court in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city neighboring Hong Kong, earlier this week rejected a lawsuit by Apple accusing Proview Technology (Shenzhen) of infringing on its "iPad" trademark.
Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-headquartered Proview International Holdings Limited, which also has a branch in Taipei.
Proview Taipei registered the "iPad" trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000, and Proview Shenzhen registered the trademark on the Chinese mainland in 2001 -- long before Apple launched its iPad tablet.
Apple bought the rights to use the trademark from Proview Taipei in 2009 with a payment of 35,000 pounds (54,616 U.S. dollars). However, Proview Shenzhen still reserved the right to use the trademark on the Chinese mainland. The two sides have been entangled in a legal battle ever since.
Proview Shenzhen, once a famous flat-panel display producer, is now on the brink of bankruptcy due to debts owed to banks in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Li Su, president of the Beijing-based Hejun Vanguard Group, a leading management consultancy firm, has been entrusted by the banks to assume the post of "debt restructuring consultant" for Proview Shenzhen.
After the court's decision was announced, Li told reporters that the company will claim 10 billion yuan (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) in compensation from Apple for copyright infringement.
"Apple's actions are strange. They had not obtained the rights to use the 'iPad' trademark when they began to sell the iPad on the Chinese mainland in September last year," said Huang Yiding of the Hejun Vanguard Group's public relations department.
"Their copy infringement is very clear. The laws are still there, and they sell their products in defiance of laws. The more products they sell, the more they need to compensate," he said.