Apple has paid $60 million to settle a dispute in China over ownership of the iPad brand name in the country. According to an announcement by Chinese-based, Hong-Kong registered computer display maker Proview, the two parties reached a settlement during mediation.
This removes the last obstacle preventing the Cupertino firm from selling its popular tablet in the Chinese market.
"The iPad dispute resolution is ended," the Guangdong High People's Court said. "Apple has transferred $60m to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter." The amount was paid into the courts account so that Proview's creditors can receive the money they are owed, according to the Telegraph.
The dispute started in 2010, after Proview, a Chinese technology firm demanded Apple cease using the iPad brand name in the Chinese market, claiming they owned the rights. Apple ignored Proview's request and a legal battle ensued, which culminated in November last year when the Intermediate People's Court of Shenzhen ruled in favor of the Chinese firm.
In February, Proview then sued Apple $1.6 billion over copyright infringement, filed a temporary restraining order and demanded a formal apology. Now that settlement has been reached, Apple's latest iPad could be made available almost immediately to consumers, especially since the country's certification authorities already approved the device back in May.
"The settlement is great news for Apple. It just allows them to get on with business and stop being distracted. The new iPad has been so late to the China market that if they drag it any longer, Apple will stand to lose quite a bit more," said Teck-Zhung Wong, a Beijing-based analyst at IDC.
By Apple's standards it's a relatively small amount, which does suggest that Proview was influenced by the court or its creditors as its well known to be struggling financially. It also reflects Chinese Courts' preferences for encouraging disputing parties to reach a settlement rather than force a ruling, according to Stan Abrams, a US lawyer who teaches intellectual law to students at Beijing's Central University of Finance and Economics.