The business press’s take on Apple’s trademark (iPAD) settlement with Proview Technologies in mainland China is quite critical, likening it to a ransom payment that will only breed more. Sure enough, there are two new IP infringement suits coming from China:
The first relates to Apple’s use of "Snow Leopard" to brand their operating system OS X 10.6.
Jiangsu Xuebao, a Chinese chemical company which manufactures commodities claims the Apple OS infringes its Chinese name "Xuebao" for which it had filed for the trademark back in 2000, according to a report in ZDNet. The company further claims Apple knew they were infringing because the company applied for the "Snow Leopard" trademark in China in 2008, but was rejected by the trademark office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
The second lawsuit was filed by a Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology, claiming Apple’s Siri infringes on one of Zhizhen’s patents (ZL200410053749.9) for “a type of instant messaging chat bot system” called Xiaoi Bot.
Notwithstanding the fact that the original case for use of “iPAD” on the mainland was really a contract dispute (recall Apple thought they had purchased the rights to the iPAD trademark), these development underscore the need for IP owners to engage a fully integrated approach to strategic planning, involving marketing, product development, legal, risk management, etc. International trademark and patent searches are now part of any risk management program. Valuators of IP must look at how well protected the assets are in the U.S. and internationally.