Cash-strapped display maker Proview that sued Apple over the iPad moniker in China feels it has the Cupertino, Calif.-headquartered gadget giant right where it wants them, cornered against the wall. Just as the Intermediate People’s Court in Huizhou ruled last Friday that local distributors should stop selling iPads in China, Proview now told The Times of India it us ready to sit at the negotiating table, apparently telling Apple it has “peaceful intentions.”
The company wants money, is hoping for an out of court settlement, and it is shooting for as high as $2 billion for the I-PAD trademark in China. Legal representatives for the debt-laden company told the paper Tuesday:
We are now preparing for negotiations. The court cases will continue until we reach an agreement.
A court in Shanghai will begin hearings tomorrow on whether Proview’s claims have any merit and the ruling could take months, Reuters reported. Whether or not Proview’s strategy works, that is anyone’s guess at this point. Apple is even threatening to sue Proview over “defamatory statements.” This highlights Apple’s unwillingness to engage in trademark licensing talks with the Chinese firm that recently filed for bankruptcy…
Apple seems to be pursuing an aggressive legal strategy to set an example, so it is unlikely the company will settle. Apple’s lawyers warned Proview in a letter issued yesterday: “It is inappropriate to release information contrary to the facts to the media, especially when such disclosures have the effect of wrongfully causing damage to Apple’s reputation.”
A Hong Kong court ruling dated last July revealed Apple founded a United Kingdom-based company to snatch rights to the iPad trademark in various markets without revealing it was the purchaser. The company insisted that it purchased the worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries in 2009 from Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate for about $55,000. Apple is now accusing Proview of not honoring that agreement, noting a Hong Kong court sided with Apple in this matter. Hong Kong’s and Mainland China’s legal systems are not very much alike, so the ruling is not helping Apple in its legal dealings with Proview, which wants to implement a country-wide ban on iPad imports and exports in China. The iPad is manufactured in Foxconn’s plants in Shenzhen, China, so any export ban would immediately impact worldwide availability of Apple’s No. 2 product as measured by revenue.