Apple’s iPad trademark dispute with cash-strapped display company Proview has continued to drag on despite the Chinese company claiming it was in negotiations with Apple as recent as February. Today, several reports suggested Apple and Proview are now involved in court-moderated mediation with senior officials who are boasting Apple could lose the right to the iPad trademark in China. The mediation would be the first confirmation of settlement talks between the two companies. The Associated Press reports:

Apple Inc. risks losing the right to use the iPad trademark in China, a senior official suggested Tuesday, as a Chinese court was seeking to mediate a settlement between the technology giant and a local company challenging its use of the iPad name… Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, told reporters in Beijing that the government regards Shenzhen Proview Technology as the rightful owner of the trademark for the popular tablet computers

If Apple and Proview are unable to come to a settlement in the talks, Guangdong High Court in southern China will rule over the case in the months to come. According to Deputy Director of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce Fu Shuangjian (via The Wall Street Journal), Proview is still the legitimate owner of the iPad trademark in the country:

“Currently, Proview Shenzhen is still the legitimate registered owner of the IPAD trademark,” Mr. Fu said. But he indicated that officials are waiting for the Guangdong court’s final judgment, after which the industry and commerce sector “will deal with the case according to law.”

IDC estimated Apple sold 4.1 million iPads in China last year alone, which account for roughly 70 percent of the tablet market. Proview would not disclose the amount of money it is seeking in settlements, but the company’s chairman Yang Rongshan told the WSJ that the company is roughly $400 million in debt.

According to Associated Press, Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu said “the company had no new comment on the possibility of a settlement with Proview.” However, Apple said in a statement that it would never “knowingly abuse someone else’s trademarks,” and it added Proview “still owe[s] a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a trademark we already paid for.”

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