Skip to Content

What’s in a Name? For Apple, Millions of Dollars

Apple may dole out a fortune to use the iPad name in China
February 9, 2012

Millions of Chinese people want Apple’s products. But one Chinese company wants something quite different from Apple: a billion dollars.

Oh, and an apology.

The company is ProviewTechnology, and it claims that it owns the legal rights to use the name “iPad” in China. This case has been working its way up the courts, and broke recently in Proview’s favor. Though Apple says it bought up the rights to the “iPad” name in 2006 (for a reported $55,000), Proview has countered that that deal only applied to usage of the name in Taiwan.

And so Proview wants money. A lot of it: as much as $1.6 billion, according to some outlets, or as “little” as $38 million, according to others (the varying figures apparently refer to different suits). And because the tech world is really just one giant kindergarten playground, a lawyer for Proview added, “We also demand an apology.”

Why did Proview own the iPad trademark anyway? Believe it or not, because it produced a tablet computer, called the I-PAD, says the Daily Mail. That tablet wasn’t exactly successful; I don’t find any reports of Chinese youngsters hawking their kidneys or their virginity for it. 

Proview has also reportedly applied for a restraining order that could impede the sale of the iPad in China, according to the Wall Street Journal. That seems like a great way to make millions of enemies, in a country where frenzied mobs have surged into Apple stores on the days of product launches. “I understand even lots of Chinese people think our company is playing dirty here or trying to blackmail Apple,” Yang Rongshan, Proview’s chairman, told the WSJ. “There has been so much misunderstanding about us, but we would continue to sue until we win what we deserve.”

Mr. Yang is a brave man. And if his company succeeds in delaying the delivery of shiny new iPads to China’s consumer masses, Proview’s headquarters had better be ready for an egging like the one that befell Apple’s Beijing flagship store–when it merely failed to open on time to sell the new iPhone 4S. 

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.