updated 10:10 pm EDT, Mon July 2, 2012
Holder of 'Xuebao' follows Proview shakedown ploy
Just a day after Proview was able to wrangle $60 million out of Apple by not honoring its original handover of the iPad trademark, another copyright holder is attempting a shakedown of its own by suing Apple over a trademark of the Chinese translation of "Snow Leopard" ("Xuebao") that Apple never used. Remarkably, the case will go to court in Shanghai on July 10.
Jiangsu Snow Leopard Daily Chemical Company registered the Chinese translation and characters of "Snow Leopard" back in 2000, coincidentally the same year Proview trademarked its "IPAD" name. Unlike Proview, however, Jiangsu Xuebao wants only 500,000 RMB (about $80,650) and an "apology," despite the fact that Apple has never used the Chinese version of "Snow Leopard" to sell it's OS X 10.6 software in China, sticking to the English name and lettering, reports Chinese site M.I.C. Gadget.
In addition to suing Apple, the company is also going after four other companies that sell OS X Snow Leopard. The CEO of Jiangsu Xuebao's position is that Apple filed for (and was denied) a trademark on the "Xuebao" name in 2008. The application was denied because Jiangsu Xuebao already had the name, but now says this "proves" Apple attempted to violate the trademark.
The Chinese company did use the trademark on a mobile ad display and enterprise resource planning (EPR) software. Apple is likely to argue that it's "Snow Leopard" operating system would in no way be confused by consumers with "Xuebao" software or technology, and that the case should be summarily dismissed.
Even by the standards of Chinese justice that allowed Proview to string along creditors and blackmail Apple into making an additional payment on a trademark it already owned, Jiangsu Xuebao's case is considered to be unlikely to succeed. Should additional, copycat lawsuits be filed, large foreign companies may decide that the trademark process is heavily flawed in China and favors Chinese companies -- a perception that would damage the country's economy and hinder growth.