Apple just settled their trademark dispute with China’s Proview for $60 million and Higher People’s Court of Guangdong Province confirmed that the dispute is now resolved.
Now another Chinese chemical company has filed a lawsuit claiming that Apple violated their “Snow Leopard” trademark and wants 500,000 RMB (around $80,645) compensation fee and an official apology from Apple.
It may just be a coincidence but the timing of the suit is impeccably perfect, since it was filed right after Apple settled the “iPad” trademark lawsuit with Proview for $60 million. The company in question is the Chinese Chemical company called “Jiangsu Xuebao“ who registered the trademark of the Chinese translation of “Snow Leopard” — “Xuebao (雪豹)”. I’m not a lawyer to nitpick the case but I know that in order for the lawsuit to continue or a company to violate a trademark both company should be of the same nature providing similar product or services.
Even though $80,645 is just a fraction to the $60 million that Apple paid to Proview, it looks like Apple will most likely to win this case; since 1) Jiangsu Xuebao is not a tech company but a consumer goods that sells stuffs like toothpaste and detergent and 2) Apple did not use the Chinese word “Xuebao (雪豹)” to market and sell its software in China.
Then again this is China, where anything can happen and like what the GigaOM article said.
This is a load of nonsense. China doesn’t give a damn about intellectual property — take a look at its rampant counterfeiting or its state-guided efforts to plunder valuable secrets from the computers of western companies. To think that the country has suddenly sprouted a fair and functioning trademark regime is laughable. What’s going on here looks a lot more like a new form of the corruption that has bedeviled foreign countries in China.
So don’t be surprise if the court in Shanghai, rules in favor of Jiangsu Xuebao. Just like in the iPad trademark dispute even though Apple have all the evidence to support their claim, they just settle the lawsuit in order to focus on a more important matter, like creating magical devices. For Apple $60 million is a small price to pay considering how huge the Chinese market is for Apple.