updated 08:00 am EST, Thu February 23, 2012
Proview told it sold iPad trademark to Apple
Proview suffered a major setback in its attempt to extract a settlement from Apple on Thursday after reports that it was denied a ban in the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court. Government-backed newspaper Xinmin Evening News said that the court agreed with Apple's position that it had legally bought the trademark for use in mainland China in 2009. The win keeps the iPad on shelves in Apple's three Shanghai stores.
Proview has tried to insist that Apple had bought the trademarks in Taiwan against the desires of the Shenzhen section behind most of the complaints. Apple, however, has said it has signatures from Proview's Shenzhen management, making it clear that they consented to the deal.
The American company still faced an attempt to collect damages in Shanghai as well as store bans in multiple cities. Apple is still appealing its cases in these smaller locations and trying to avert damage claims that could range as high as $2 billion.
Proview was first to register an "i-Pad" trademark in 2000, although it was for a deliberate iMac clone. The company was successful for most of the last decade, but troubles in its desktop display and later LCD TV businesses left it cash-strapped by the time Apple came to buy the trademark. Proview was rocked by the world economic slump in 2008 and beyond and hasn't recovered, with the possibility that it might be knocked out of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange if it can't assure the exchange and creditors that it will recover.
The demands have been interpreted by some as a last-ditch attempt to keep Proview solvent. It waited until later into 2011 to actively press Apple on the trademark, significantly after the launch of the US-designed iPad.