Anyone buying a Vision Pro headset in China might have to buy something different, with a name change on the cards unless Apple can do a deal with an old Android foe.
Apple has so far not confirmed which countries beyond the USA the Vision Pro headset will launch in once it goes on sale in early 2024, but it has some work to do if it intends China to be one of them. That's after it was discovered that it doesn't own the trademark for Vision Pro in the country. What's more, the company that does own it is unlikely to play ball.
That's because the current Vision Pro patent owner in China happens to be Huawei — a company that Apple has had dealings with in the past.
Living in a Huawei reality
Huawei is of course the company whose phones can at times seem very iPhone-like, and the same can be said for the company's flagship store — it's suspiciously Apple Store-like. Huawei was also the company that launched the MatePad, an iPad Pro wannabe. Now, it looks like it's Apple's turn to have followed Huawei's lead.
"It is understood that the trademark registration number of Vision Pro is 38242888, international classification 9, and the term of exclusive right to use the trademark is from November 28, 2021 to November 27, 2031," MyDrivers reports via machine translation. "The approved use of goods/services includes LCD TVs, head-mounted virtual reality devices, and radio equipment. Wait a minute."
All of this is to say that Apple will likely have a couple of options should it want to sell the Vision Pro headset in China. It can of course change the product's name, which seems unlikely. Or it can work to strike a deal with Huawei for the trademark itself.
What comes next, we'll have to wait and see. But it seems unlikely that any of this will be news to Apple and we have to imagine there are plans afoot already.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.