India-based Vyooh has taken Apple to court over trademark infringement claims related to the term ‘SplitView’.Apple is usually very careful and protective about its own designs and patents. But the Cupertino-giant is facing a major hurdle in India, and is being allegedly accused of infringing a trademark held by an Indian company. The Delhi High Court has ordered Apple not to use the term ‘SplitView’ in India, since it is a trademark held by an Indian company called Vyooh.
Vyooh, a vendor for Microsoft, owns the trademark for the term SplitView, and says that it developed the software back in 2006 for multi-tasking. While technically Apple uses the term ‘Split View’ (with space) for multi-tasking on iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, Vyooh’s lawyers argue that it can’t use the same name as the software doesn’t use Vyooh’s patents, ET reports. Apple is said to be working on an appeal, and has till May 9 to file a reply.
Apple however approached a bigger bench of justices, which has overruled the decision taken by the Single Judge at the Delhi HC. Court documents seen by BGR India states that a trademark issue should only arise if “a very strong prima-facie case is made out with respect to a trademark which is inherently distinctive.” The judges have also given Apple three weeks to file a replication and file further documents, and the next hearing is scheduled for May 9.
Apple introduced multi-tasking for the first time on iOS at WWDC last year. The iPads could multi-task by using three new modes — Split View, Slide Over, and Picture in Picture. Split View essentially lets users run two apps simultaneously side-by-side. Slide Over lets users open a second app without leaving the first by swiping from the right. Lastly, Picture in Picture mode makes it possible for video apps to run on top of any app. Multi-tasking on iOS 9 only works on new iPads like the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro.
The Court order comes at a time when Apple is increasingly focused on the Indian market. The country is among the early markets to get the recently launched iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7-inch. Apple is currently in the process of seeking permission to open Apple Stores in the country, as well as, import and manufacture refurbished iPhones. The company is also setting up a Rs 150 crore technology development center in Hyderabad.
While a giant like Apple is expected to win a case like this, that’s not always been the case. Apple has faced trademark disputes before, and has had to pay up too. Earlier this year for example, a court ordered Apple to pay $626 million for allegedly infringing VirnetX’s patents related to iMessage, and FaceTime among others. Apple has in turn filed a motion for mistrial.