It’s been over a week since Apple unveiled its first mixed reality headset Vision Pro during the WWDC event, but people have pointed out that the headset’s name may have already been taken by another tech company.
Upon the announcement, netizens have searched “Vision Pro” in China Trademark Network. As it turns out, China’s Huawei has already claimed the name as early as May 16, 2019 – four years prior to Apple’s unveiling.
Huawei’s Vision Pro trademark, registered under the number 38242888, falls under the international class 9 trademark. This class covers a wide range of products, including photographic and signaling devices.
According to the documents, the Chinese manufacturing company’s trademark claims rights to the Vision Pro name for 10 years, starting November 28, 2021, to November 27, 2031, and applies to products and services, including wearable devices.
While Apple has yet to make its new headset publicly available early 2024, its inevitable international launch can cause problems for the tech company as China remains to be one of its strongest markets.
When it comes to the worst possible outcome, Apple may not have rights to sell its new mixed reality headset in China. However, a more likely scenario is that the tech giant will have to change the name of its product for the Chinese market, which might require time-consuming negotiations.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time Apple had experienced trademark claims.
Back in 2007, tech company Cisco sued the then Steve Jobs-ran company after it introduced the iPhone during its Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco.
The charges were based on the claim that the name ‘iPhone’ was a registered trademark of Linksys, Cisco’s acquisition. This plunged the two tech giants into a two-year negotiation over the issue, before they finally settled on allowing both companies to use the product name.
The trademark tussle highlights high-stakes competition in the rapidly growing mixed and augmented reality products market. Many emerging AR companies continually innovate, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in wearable devices and applications.