Apple Vision Pro's Chinese launch could be in Huawei's hands as Apple's trademark woes continue

Vision Pro spatial photos
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Vision Pro might have been on sale in the United States for a few weeks now, but it's the only country where Apple has so far launched its first foray into the world of spatial computing. That will surely change sooner rather than later with a new report hinting that as many as nine new international Apple Vision Pro launches could be in the works. However, the launch in one of those countries might be more complicated than the rest.

That country is of course China, a country that is often more complicated than others for Apple. In this instance, the issue revolves around the Apple Vision Pro's name. We already know that Huawei owns the trademark for Vision Pro, something that was predicted to prove problematic as far back as June of last year. However, while some might have expected that little wrinkle to have been ironed out by now, there are currently new signs that this is actually the case.

In fact, a new report suggests that the current trademark situation for both "Apple Vision Pro" and "Vision Pro" is unclear at best and downright bad at worst. If Apple really does intend to launch its mixed reality headset in the country soon, it'll need to deal with Huawei first.

An Apple Vision Pro by any other name...

According to a new South China Morning Post, Huawei first registered the trademark for "Vision Pro" back in 2021 and that trademark covers a whole variety of devices and uses including, notably, virtual reality headsets. That means that Huawei is currently the only company that can sell a device in that category while using the Vision Pro name.

According to records at the Trademark Office of China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), Huawei has exclusive rights until November 2031. The CNIPA also notes that Apple applied for trademark rights to the brand "Vision Pro" last year and that application is currently in the “refusal to re-examine” phase. Further, Apple also applied to trademark the name "Apple Vision Pro" in June, around the time that the headset was announced at WWDC. That application is still under examination, we're told.

All of this means that we're effectively in the same position that we were in back in June of last year — Apple can't sell the Apple Vision Pro in China without changing its name or coming to some sort of arrangement with Huawei. There are some claims that Huawei intends to launch a headset of its own using the same branding which could make things very interesting indeed. However, it's important to note that Huawei would only be able to use that name in its home country and would have to use a different one should the headset be made available globally.

Huawei does already have a product on sale that uses a similar name. The Vision Glass smart glasses have been on sale since December 2022, a fact that could well make Apple's situation even less clear unless it can also convince Hauwei to change the name of that product as well.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

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.