Turns out Huawei beat Apple to trademarking 'Vision Pro' in China by 4 years

Apple Vision Pro headset front-on with a blue gradient background
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple made a big splash with the announcement of its first VR/AR headset, the Apple Vision Pro. The thing is, it looks like Huawei may have beat it to the name, at least in China where the company operates from.

An application for a trademark on the phrase 'Vision Pro' was filed back in May, 2019, MyDrivers reports. That's just over four years before Apple's Vision Pro broke surface at WWDC. The trademark on the term goes into effect from 2021 until 2031, and you can see the documentation for yourself on the Trademark Office for China's database.

There's not much to the trademark, though there rarely ever is. Say what you like about the way in which companies trademark simple words and phrases but that's the system. In this case, the phrase "Vision Pro" has been trademarked in broadly in relation to computing and displays. I see no exact mention of VR/AR of similar functionality, which could save Apple's bid for its own trademark related to these specific types of products, but Huawei may well have that covered with the use of catch-all phrases.

While only securing the name for a decade, Apple does intend to launch its own Vision Pro in 2024. If it hopes to keep the name in China at that point, it'll most likely be forced to strike a deal with Huawei to licence it.

Apple's other options include: 1, ignore Huawei's copyright and risk the wrath of its legal teams and China's intellectual property legislation; 2, change the name in China; or 3, don't sell the device in China altogether. 

Since you can't just close your eyes and hope a trademark lawsuit goes away, providing Huawei is open to it and willing to let the name be used for a reasonable-ish fee, negotiating will be the most likely course of action for Apple.

CNIPA trademark filing for Huawei's 'Vision Pro' brand

(Image credit: CNIPA)
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(Image credit: Valve)

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If you're wondering what Huawei is using the trademark for, it currently has a TV with the Vision Pro name, and it could roll that branding out to more products in China if it so wished. Huawei doesn't have as large of a presence in the US anymore due to government restrictions on its business in the country.

If you search Vision Pro in the US Patent and Trademark Office database, you'll find heaps of variations on the name already registered, including "Vision Pro" registered by a ClearView Systems from Florida. There's also another trademark for a "VisionPro" for one Murray Equipment. Neither has anything to do with AR/VR, barely even computing; one is software and the other sporting goods. However, it's perfectly possible Apple is already stuck in a position having to pay out for the privilege of using this name in the US.

At least the multi-trillion dollar valued company has money to spare.

As I mentioned before, Apple has a little time to figure this one out. The Apple Vision Pro is set to release in early 2024

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.