The Intermediate People’s Court in Shenzhen has ruled against Apple in a complaint against a Chinese technology company over the use of the iPad name. Apple has confirmed the lawsuit but has declined further comment, according to a report from Reuters.
In the lawsuit, Proview Technology claims to have registered the iPad trademark as early as 2000 in multiple countries including China, potentially 10 years before Apple released their tablet with the same name. In October, Proview reportedly sued Apple for 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) for copyright infringement.
China is crucial to Apple’s continued growth overseas but the company has been fighting an uphill battle for quite some time. Nearly two dozen fake Apple stores were shut down in the region over the summer after authorities in Kunming saw photos of a phony store online. An American living in the city published a blog post about a visit to one of the stores which eventually prompted Chinese trade officials to take action.
Authorities in Shanghai arrested five people in September for manufacturing and selling counterfeit iPhones. The bust reportedly led police to an organized crime group that was responsible for buying components in Guandong and assembling them in Shanghai apartments.
It’s unclear at this point how Apple will deal with the unfavorable ruling over the iPad name in China. Cupertino could try to work out a licensing deal with Proview that would allow them to use the trademark for their tablet, or potentially even change the name of the device in that region.