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May 22, 2012

Chinese Court Throws Out Proview's iPad Trademark Evidence

By David Delony, Contributing Writer

A Hong Kong court's decision not to review evidence may mean that Apple (News - Alert) is allowed to use the name “iPad” for their popular tablet after all.

Bankrupt Chinese manufacturer, Proview sued the Cupertino, Calif.-based company for 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) claiming ownership of the iPad trademark, but the court has decided to throw out Proview's evidence after the company failed to comply with the court's instructions.

“Apple was quite deceptive when it first approached Proview to buy the name," Xiao Caiyuan, the head of the law firm representing Proview  in December 2011. "They had lawyers in Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan to look through the paperwork but they failed to spot that the trademark was registered elsewhere."

Proview registered the “iPad” name in 2000. Apple purchased the trademark from Proview in 2006 for $55,000 but an earlier Chinese court ruling found that the company had not formally transferred the rights, since Proview did not attend the negotiations for the trademark, which were done through a Taiwanese company. Apple has appealed the decision.

The court found that Apple's deal with Proview was valid after all, which means Apple can continue to market tablets with the name “iPad.”

Apple is also facing a $38 million fine for improper use of the iPad name in China. Proview's debt is reported to be $400 million.

Apple had offered to pay 100 million yuan, or $16 million, but that would not have been enough to cover Proview's large debt.

The lawsuit led to iPads being pulled off store shelves in China earlier this year.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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