By Michael Ardiaolo
According to a lawyer involved in the case, Apple has offered an undisclosed settlement to Proview for the rights to the iPad trademark with the hope that their latest device can finally grace the shelves of Chinese stores.
Proview’s lawyer, Xie Xianghui, responded negatively, “Right now, there is still a big gap between the two sides on the settlement amount.”
Proview, a Chinese manufacturer of computer monitors and other electronic devices based in Shenzhen, sued Apple over the name of its popular tablet in late 2011. Apple purchased the rights to the iPad trademark from Proview Taipei, a subsidiary of its Hong Kong-based parent, Proview International Holdings, in 2009. Proview Shenzhen, however, claims to be a separate entity from its Taipei sister company, and therefore still holds the rights to the name in mainland China.
Apple insists that the 2009 purchase of the trademark was valid and included worldwide rights to the name. They refuse to pay the USD$1.6 billion in damages to Proview, a company that field for bankruptcy in 2010 (6 months after the first iPad went on sale in the U.S.) and was removed from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In case you missed it, this is the beauty Proview unveiled in 1998. It was called the “Internet Personal Access Device,” or iPAD. As you can see, there is absolutely no resemblance between this desktop PC and Apple’s tablet. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, however, there is something familiar about Proview’s iPAD: oh, that’s right.
Proview eyes worldwide domination
Proview Shenzhen is not content with just fighting in the courts on mainland China, where the State Administration for Industry and Commerce is backing their cause. Their first international court case was held at the Superior Court of the State of California, U.S. Proview attempted to file the same suit that is being contested in China, but Apple argued that “the parties had agreed to settle any legal disagreements in Hong Kong.” The judge agreed and dismissed the case on Friday, “writing that Proview failed to provide evidence that the selection of Hong Kong was ‘unreasonable or unfair,’ according to a copy of the order.”
It appears that Proview will not stop there. According to The Times of India, “Proview also claims that it had registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions in 2000. Its lawyers have earlier indicated the company is prepared to take the trademark battle to other countries.”
The latest (Apple) iPad went on sale internationally on March 8th. It has yet to hit the shelves in China due to the name dispute. Apple is hoping that using the name “New iPad” will be sufficient enough to circumvent the Chinese legal system. There are throngs of mainland fans hoping the same.