Finally, Apple owns the name ‘iPad’

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(CNN) — More than two years after releasing its game-changing tablet computer, Apple now actually owns the name “iPad.”

A Chinese court says the company has paid $60 million to a Taiwanese firm for the rights, nailing down the name as its own in a country that is increasingly becoming a huge market for electronics.

Shenzhen Proview Technology had trademarked the name “iPad” in 2001. Apple paid the company about $55,000 in 2009. But Chinese authorities refused to recognize the payment and ruled last year that Proview still owned the name in that country.

“The iPad dispute resolution is ended,” the Guangdong High People’s Court said in a statement acquired by the New York Times. “Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”

Apple did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday morning.

China is already Apple’s second-biggest market behind the United States. It only shows signs of growing as more of its roughly 1.3 billion people become more tech-savvy.

A lawyer for Proview told the Times that the company hoped for more money but settled because it has debts to pay. He said it had wanted as much as $400 million, according to the Times.

Proview had argued that Apple didn’t negotiate in good faith, using a shell company that promised not to make competing products under the iPad label. The company alleges the negotiator concealed that he was working for Apple, gave a false name and said the company he represented was IP Application Development — or IPAD, for short.

The dispute certainly hasn’t slowed demand for the tablet and other Apple products in China. When the iPad 2 was released last year, a skirmish broke out outside a Beijing Apple Store after a man believed to be a scalper was escorted away by security after trying to cut in line.

And some Chinese entrepreneurs don’t even worry so much about the Apple products they sell actually being Apple products.

Last year, authorities discovered 22 fake Apple Stores in just one city and ordered them to either change their names or shut down. It was unclear at the time whether the gadgets they were selling were actually Apple’s or fakes.

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