The embattled monitor maker Proview, fighting Apple over rights to the iPad name in China, suffered a blow as the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court rejected a preliminary injunction against the sale of the iPad. This means Apple can continue selling iPads in its flagship Shanghai stores without fear (and embarrassment) of sales suspension.
The hearings are now postponed, because both companies are awaiting the results of a separate case in the Guangdong provincial high court, the Wall Street Journal reported today.
Proview had sought the injunction, saying it owns the iPad trademark in China. Apple, which contends that it previously purchased the rights to the iPad name from Proview, had applied in Shanghai to suspend proceedings on Wednesday. Ma Dongxiao, an attorney representing Proview, said the company doesn’t yet have a response.
Reuters said Apple is appealing a December court decision ruled in Proview’s favor. “A higher court hearing for the appeal is set for February 29 in China’s southern province of Guangdong,” the news gathering organization wrote. Interestingly, it has come to light that the Bank of China and Minsheng Bank are controlling debt-laden Proview since March 2009. As a result, Proview is not allowed to make any agreements without the creditors’ approval, essentially turning the banks into silent parties with vested interests, as one trademark lawyer told Business Week:
Right now, the most valuable asset of Proview Group is the iPad trademark registration in China. Assuming the creditors have control of the affairs of Proview Shenzhen, it might be in their best interest to get a settlement as quickly as possible to monetize the Proview assets.
Lawyers for Proview, which marketed and sold an iMac-like desktop in 2000 named I-PAD, took stance ahead of the hearings yesterday that an out-of-court settlement with Apple “is quite possible.” Apple responded that Proview’s trademark is invalid because its I-PAD computer had not been on sale for years. Apple also argued that its own iPad tablet is benefiting China’s economy through the creation of manufacturing jobs and tax revenues:
Apple has huge sales in China. Its fans line up to buy Apple products. The ban, if executed, would not only hurt Apple sales but it would also hurt China’s national interest.
Apple in 2009 snatched rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries from Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate for about $55,000, including rights to market the iPad in China. The iPad maker secretly founded a United Kingdom-based firm to get trademarks so that Proview would not know at the time that Apple was the purchaser.
- Proview sues retailers in Southern China seeking ban on iPad sales (9to5mac.com)
- Proview: “We are now preparing for negotiations with Apple” (9to5mac.com)
- Fighting Proview in Shanghai court, Apple highlights iPad’s benefits to China’s economy (9to5mac.com)
- The price of the iPad name in China has gone up to $2B (9to5mac.com)
- Apple finally talks, says that Proview refuses to honor their agreement to transfer iPad trademark (9to5mac.com)