China’s technology giant Huawei seems to have once again thrown a wrench in Apple’s plans as it registered a trademark for the name “Vision Pro” years before Apple unveiled its own Vision Pro. This is not the first time Apple has faced naming challenges, with previous trademark clashes involving iconic products like Apple TV, iPad, iOS, and iPhone. Now, Apple’s latest flagship device, the Apple Vision Pro, finds itself entangled in a trademark dispute with Huawei, which could potentially hinder its entry into the Chinese market.
Apple’s transition away from the “i” prefix in its device names has not been without its fair share of obstacles. Initially, Apple TV was announced as iTV, but it faced opposition from the prominent British broadcaster ITV, compelling Apple to change its name. Furthermore, the iPad name was initially licensed to Fujitsu, and both “iOS” and “iPhone” were trademarks held by Cisco. These past encounters reflect a recurring pattern of naming conflicts that Apple has confronted over the years.
Gizmo China, a renowned tech publication, recently discovered an entry for “Vision Pro” in the China Trademark Network, filed by Huawei on May 16, 2019. As of now, Huawei holds exclusive rights to the name from November 28, 2021, to November 27, 2031. The approved filing specifically designates the use of the name for products involving head-mounted virtual reality devices.
While Huawei already offers product lines such as the smart headset Vision Glass and the Huawei Vision Smart Screen, it does not currently have a Vision Pro product. This raises the possibility that Apple may have to alter the name of its device to comply with trademark regulations in order to launch it in China. However, Apple has stated that the initial release of the Apple Vision Pro will be limited to the United States.
Considering Apple’s history of resolving such naming disputes, it is likely that the tech giant will persist with the Vision Pro name and eventually reach a resolution with Huawei. Past instances have shown that Apple has successfully negotiated agreements in similar cases, except for the standoff with ITV, which had been using the name since 1955 and could not afford to part ways with it.
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Apple’s journey with product names has been fraught with hurdles, and the latest one comes in the form of a Huawei trademark for “Vision Pro.” With Huawei holding exclusive rights to the name in China, Apple faces the choice of either modifying the name for the Chinese market or refraining from selling the device in that region. However, history suggests that Apple will most likely pursue negotiations with Huawei to overcome this obstacle, aligning with its previous practices in handling naming conflicts. As the launch of the Apple Vision Pro approaches, the outcome of this trademark dispute remains uncertain, but it seems improbable that Apple would surrender the name without a fight.