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Apple sued in China over alleged "Snow Leopard" trademark infringement

OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Apple

(CBS News) Apple just can't catch a break. The computer company is at the center of another trademark battle.

A Chinese household chemical company Jiangsu Xuebao is suing Apple for allegedly infringing on its "Snow Leopard" trademark. The company doesn't own the "Snow Leopard" trademark, but it does own the Chinese translation - "Xuenbao."

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Snow Leopard is the name of a recent Apple operating system - OS X 10.6. The software was launched in 2009 and has since been upgraded to OS X 10.7 - Lion, with version 10.8 Mountain Lion planned for the fall.

Tong Yu, Jiangsu Xuebao chairman, claims the company makes computer-related products and that Apple is making a profit from its reputation in China, the Shanghai Daily reports.

"Xuebao might have a case if its coverage matches up with Apple's usage. If it's[sic] coverage includes software, obviously, then Apple would have a problem using the 'Snow Leopard' mark on its operating system," argued Beijing-based law professor Stan Abrams.

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Apple recently settled a trademark dispute with the Chinese company Proview for the international rights for the name "iPad." The Shenzhen-based company sued Apple for $1.6 billion for trademark infringement earlier this year.

Proview went as far as filing a complaint against Apple in a California court. The battle between the two companies swept China and escalated to the point of Apple pulling iPads from Chinese retailers. Mainland China eventually got approval to sell the popular tablet soon after the new iPad was launched in March. It was announced Monday that Apple has paid $60 million to settle the dispute.

Jiangsu Xuebao is seeking RMB 500,000 (about $78,000 USD) and an apology from Apple. The hearing is set for July 10, 2012.

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