updated 09:15 pm EST, Thu February 23, 2012
Proview gambles on US lawsuit strategy
Proview is now known to have quietly sued Apple in the US last week over the iPad trademark dispute. It claimed in a Santa Clara court that Apple's decision to use a shell company, IP Application Development Limited (IPADL), was allegedly fraudulent. By masking its own involvement, Apple was trying to "defraud and induce" Proview into signing a trademark handover deal that it might not otherwise have agreed to, according to the lawsuit.
Apple, under its IPADL wing, is believed to have informed Proview that it wanted the iPad trademark as an abbreviation of the shell company's name and promised that it wouldn't directly compete with Proview.
The plaintiff was hoping for an unspecified amount in financial damages as well as a ban on Apple's use of the name. It also wanted the court to revoke the earlier trademark deal, an unusual step that wouldn't help cases back in China.
Whether or not Proview has a case isn't clear. While IPADL didn't directly reveal Apple as its parent, it's a common practice among companies to acquire trademarks under such names to reduce the likelihood that the media or competitors find out ahead of time. Proview isn't yet known to have done due diligence in verifying the claims, and by the time Apple had been acquiring the trademarks (in 2009) the iMac clone Proview had been developing as the i-Pad had ceased to exist as the firm had since moved on to displays.
The attempt at an American dispute had been filed days before Shanghai rejected an attempted ban in that city. Although it hadn't dropped an attempt to claim damages, the verdict along with recently publicized evidence may make it difficult for Proview to get a legal victory.
Short-term cash is widely thought to be Proview's ultimate goal. It never fully recovered from the late 2008 economic crash and has declared bankruptcy. Under a deadline to reorganize, it may have trouble staying afloat without a surge in funds. [via Wall Street Journal]