While an Apple patent prevails, an Apple trademark suffers a serious blow

As we reported, the high profile ITC ruling for Apple last month in its battle with HTC was modest, at best, serving only to force the Android OEM to design around a minor feature.  Apple can only hope to have several such battle victories eventually add up to an Android product that is not as convenient or easy to use as comparable Apple products.

Worrisome, however, is the rejection of Apple’s registration of the iPAD trademark in China. In fairness, Apple thought it had purchased worldwide rights to the trademark from Taiwan’s Proview Electronics. However, the Chinese trademark office rejected the application because the trademark is owned by Proview Technology (of Shenzhen), an affiliate of Proview International in Hong Kong.

Proview Technology is now making it difficult for Apple retailers, in a market important to Apple, so, though the decision can be appealed, an exclusive license may be the smart way out.

International due diligence is becoming its own discipline, with huge international implications for aggressive business plans. Valuation analysts and IP attorneys who normally match business plans to corresponding IP safeguards now need to factor in multiple jurisdictions as soon as practicable. If a forecast calls for major growth initiatives in foreign countries, the business plan must account for the transportability of brands and supporting trademarks.