After a lengthy legal battle, Apple and Proview finally settled over the rights to the iPad name for a cool $60 million. It was smart for Apple to settle because it looked like Proview wasn’t going to give up until it got something. You would think Apple’s troubles in China would be finished after that, but things are never that simple.
MIC Gadget is reporting that Chinese household chemical company Jiangsu Xuebao is suing Apple over the Snow Leopard name. So how does Apple infringe on their trademark? The company claims that they applied for the Xuebao trademark, which is Snow Lepoard in Chinese, back in 2000. Apple released the Snow Leopard OS in 2009 so it was obviously late to the game.
The company is seeking around $80,000 and an apology from Apple. Compared to what Proview wanted, these demands don’t seem exploitative. The bad part is that Jiangsu Xuebao is also suing four Chinese retailers that advertise and sell Apple’s OS X.
What makes this case really interesting is that Apple apparently applied for the Xuebao trademark back in 2008 in China and was rejected. The company feels that this is proof that Apple tried to infringe on their trademark and then went to the English spelling of Snow Leopard when they were denied the native Chinese spelling.
That rejection may be what saves Apple in the end though. A Chinese lawyer says that Jiangsu Xuebao has little chance to actually win because Apple advertises Snow Leopard in English on their Web site. If they had used Xuebao, the company would probably win their complaint. While both the Chinese and English Web sites use the English spelling for Snow Leopard on the Web site, the actual marketing in China appears to only use Chinese whereas Apple uses English.
Either way, the case goes to a Shanghai court on July 10. Here’s hoping it doesn’t last as long as the Proview case. Apple would be smart to just settle and let them have their $80,000 – it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the company’s cash reserves.