updated 09:15 am EST, Thu February 16, 2012
Insists Proview 'refuses to honor their agreement'
Apple has broken its usual silence on legal matters to defend its assertion to the iPad trademark in China, a China Daily report indicates. "We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter," an Apple statement claims. The company also says that the case is still pending in the Chinese mainland.
Proview's stance has been that while Apple did buy the iPad trademark from Proview Electronics in 2006, that didn't include the rights to the trademark in China, which are said to be owned by Proview Shenzhen. A lawyer for Proview Shenzhen, Xie Xianghui, comments that Apple's new statement is a "partial" reply, meant to confuse the public. He argues that the Hong Kong ruling won't have any influence over mainland trials, because of the different legal frameworks; he moreover challenges the idea that Hong Kong actually sided with Apple. "Apple is worried the iPad trademark will be resold before the hearing is finished, so it asked the Hong Kong court to forbid Proview Shenzhen from doing that," Xie elaborates.
Much is at stake for Apple, since the Chinese market is growing fast, and even locally it is unlikely to want to change the product's name. More likely is that Apple may be forced to enter into a settlement with Proview to avoid the $1.6 billion judgement the latter has been seeking.