Philadelphia partner Greg Lavorgna wrote an article for the Legal Intelligencer on Apple’s Chinese trademark woes and ensuing lessons for IP practitioners.
A Chinese court recently held that Chinese company Proview Technology is the owner of the “iPad” mark in China, a registration it obtained in 2001.
Proview is now getting Chinese authorities to seize Apple iPad tablets in China and seeking a ban on exports of the products made there.
Greg’s article discusses the consequences for Apple and its appeal to the Higher People’s Court of Ghuangzhou.
He also notes that the nature of trademark law in China means that this is not an isolated case.
Greg said the key takeaway is this: “register your trademarks as early as possible, and make sure you register promptly in China. Unlike in the United States, where trademark rights are based on use of a mark in commerce, trademark rights in China are based on registration.”
He continued, “[y]ou want to be the first to register your trademarks in China, so you don’t need to buy the rights to your own mark from someone else – or face infringement litigation for using your own mark.”