Apple has continued its court battle with Proview International, the Chinese company claiming ownership of the trademark rights over the iPad name in China. I wrote an article on the subject last week and as the story has progressed, this piece serves to add additional detail and update the developing story. According to The Washington Post, Lawyers representing both companies gave their arguments in the Higher People's Court of Guangdong before the hearing was adjourned with both sets of representative going back to their clients to see if a settlement could be reached before going forward.
This situation is growing increasingly uncomfortable for Apple as it progresses. Beyond the court case, Proview applied to China's Customs Bureau to block the imports and exports of iPads. More and more, it appears Apple will end up paying for the trademark confusion one way or another, be it in a settlement, or in damages and lost iPad sales if they lose the trademark rights. The latter of those options seems to be the worst considering the fact that iPads are selling well in China, Apple's largest market outside of the US. This is especially true considering Apple has invested more in China over the last two years adding stores and increasing marketing efforts. This has been beneficial for them as revenue in the country has quadrupled during the past year. Sales of iPads exceeded 32 million globally in 2011 with over $20 billion in revenue, and Apple is driven to continue to make the Chinese portion of that revenue grow capitalizing on the momentum experienced during this past year.
Apple's lawyers are arguing that in addition to their rightful purchase of the trademark several years ago, a ruling that blocks the sale of their iPad now will ultimately be problematic for consumers. Chinese consumers, Apple argues, associate the 'iPad' name with Apple's tablet explaining, as quoted in The Washington Post, Allowing Proview to use the brand to make their own products would cause confusion and harm consumer interests.
pple will be looking to minimize the damage they sustain from this trademark situation, and we will see how successful they will be in the coming weeks and months. The main point I put forth in the previous piece is that conducting business in another country poses many challenges, among them being companies are operating within different regulations than they are used to. Also, like Apple in this case, companies can be vulnerable to trademark and other similar issues that come up when entering a new market. In terms of marketing in different countries, issues of culture and language come into play. As such, search engine optimization companies that offer international SEO services can greatly assist businesses looking to grow their online presence in new markets. Like the local experts assisting Apple navigate Chinese trademark law, SEO companies optimize their clients' sites per their specific market.