Beijing: Apple has paid USD 60 million to a Chinese firm settling its long-standing dispute over the iPad trademark in China, a court said on Monday, paving the way for smooth sales of the popular tablet computer in the country.

"The iPad dispute resolution is ended," the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province said in a statement.

Apple has transferred the money to the account designated by the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province, and the Intermediate Court of Shenzhen on Monday notified the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to transfer iPad's trademark to Apple, the higher court said. The court said the settlement agreement went into effect on June 25.

The dispute centered on whether Apple acquired the iPad name in China when it bought rights in various countries from a Proview Shenzhen affiliate in Taiwan for USD 55,000.

Proview Shenzhen, a Shenzhen-based maker of computer screens and LED lights, claimed it had the rights to use the iPad trademark commonly associated with Apple's popular tablet computer, the state-run as reported.

Proview said the Taipei subsidiary of its Hong Kong-based parent company, Proview International Holdings Limited, registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000.

Though Apple bought the rights to use the iPad trademark from Proview Taipei in 2009, Proview says it reserves the right to use the trademark it registered on the Chinese mainland in 2001. The two sides have since been entangled in a drawn-out legal battle.

Guangdong's higher court heard the case in February as Apple and its proxy for the trademark purchase appealed a previous court ruling by Shenzhen intermediate court in favour of Proview.

China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States and the source of much of the Cupertino, California-based company's sales growth.

(Agencies)

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