In yet another trademark-infringement case in China, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been alleged this time for the use of word “Snow Leopard”. According to Chinese tech site MIC Gadget, a household chemical company called Jiangsu Xuebao has sued Apple in Shanghai over infringing its “Snow Leopard” trademark. Though the chemical company doesn’t own “Snow Leopard,” but in 2000, it has filed for the Chinese translation, “Xuebao.” As Xuebao means snow leopard in English.
The Jiangsu based company is claiming that the latter’s Snow Leopard operating system has the same Chinese name as its registered trademark. According to chairman, Tong Yu, he registered 42 Xuebao trademarks under different categories since 1994. Tong also told the Modern Express newspaper that Apple had applied for the Snow Leopard trademark in China in 2008 but had been rejected.
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Much to surprise, that Jiangsu Xuebao is suing Apple now as Apple has already replaced Snow Leopard with Lion and will launch Mountain Lion later this month. The iPhone maker had used Snow Leopard in one of its Mac OS X distributions, launched in 2009.
It seems that the chemical company might have got inspired by the recent trademark-infringement case involving Apple and Proview over use of the iPad name which was settled for $60 million. But this also doesn’t seem to be the motive as according to MIC Gadget, Jiangsu Xuebao isn’t trying to cash in so much: it’s only seeking $80,645 and an official apology from Apple.
What’s in favor of Apple apart from $80k settlement amount is that, it never really used the Chinese word “Xuebao” in its marketing or sales of Snow Leopard OS in China.
It will be very interesting to see how the case moves forward as it is backed by some amusing facts from the side of Chinese company, but as of now suit has been cleared and is scheduled for a hearing on 10th of July.