After a Chinese judge rejected Apple's lawsuit against Chinese manufacturer Proview Technology for illegally using the iPad name, a countersuit could be heading Apple's way to the tune of $1.5 billion.
According to Chinese newspaper The Southern Metropolis Daily (via Reuters), the iPad name had already been legally registered as a trademark in China (as well as several other countries) by Proview Technology, citing documents that date as far back as 2000.
Perhaps adding a little conspiracy theory to the mix, the Intermediate People's Court of Shenzhen made the ruling, not surprisingly in favor of Shenzhen-based Proview.
China has been a particularly tough retail nut to crack for many companies, including Apple. Fake Apple Stores, counterfeited iPhones and iPods, and any number of trademark infringements are just some of the hurdles Apple has had to overcome there.
Clearly, Apple has a lot invested in China's growing population of increasingly tech-savvy consumers. With so much on the line, the iPad trademark suit is crucial to continued sales of the product in China (and worldwide, for that matter). Proview's $1.5 billion countersuit could put an immediate halt on sales of the iPad should Apple's legal team not find a quick solution.
Should Apple rebrand products for countries where they do not own trademarks or continue to fight for their products in court? Let me know your opinion in the comments!