Price of the iPad Name: $55,000 to $2 Billion

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By Ian Sherr

What’s in a name like iPad?

Apple Inc. agreed to pay Proview International Holdings Ltd. £35,000 ($55,494 at current exchange rates) for the iPad trademark, according to a cache of documents that includes emails and a contract detailing an agreement between the two companies.

The newly unearthed documents come as Apple has been battling Proview over whether it purchased rights to the iPad name from Proview in 2009—a key issue in a dispute between the companies.

Proview defended its claims to the trademark in China, and suggested on Friday that the company could be due as much as $2 billion from Apple.

A Hong Kong court sided with Apple last year, saying the agreement between Proview and an Apple subsidiary was valid. But a court in mainland China threw out Apple’s case.

Proview, a computer display manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy, claims it has the exclusive rights to the iPad name in China and has sought injunctions against the import or export of Apple’s tablet device. A ban on the iPad’s export from China could have wide-ranging implications for Apple, which relies on manufacturers in the country to make many of the devices it sells around the globe.

Proview earlier this month attempted to bar the sale of iPads within China through a complaint filed with a Shanghai court, alleging that an earlier deal with Apple for the iPad trademark didn’t include the China market.

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(Published Feb 19, 2012, on The Wall Street Journal website.)