Lower court rules against Apple in Chinese iPad dispute

20 Feb 2012

The iPad 2

A lower court in the Guangdong has ruled against Apple, agreeing with Proview Technology, which claims it owns the iPad name in the latest in the trademark dispute in China. Meanwhile, Apple has threatened to sue Proview Technology over “defamatory statements”.

The Associated Press reports that the Intermediate People’s Court in Huizhou, Guangdong, has ruled that local distributors should stop selling Apple’s tablet, according to a lawyer for Proview Technology.

However, Apple stated that the case is still pending in mainland China and it has appealed to Guangdong’s High Court against an earlier ruling which favoured Proview Technology.

Meanwhile, PC World reports that Apple has threatened to take legal action against Proview Technology, alleging that the company’s founder and lawyers have made misleading statements which could damage Apple’s business in China.

Apple reportedly sent a letter to Proview Technology, alleging it was releasing “false information” to the media. It threatened to sue the company over “defamatory statements”.

Proview Technology and Apple have been engaged in a legal dispute over which company owns the iPad trademark in mainland China. Apple claims Proview Technology sold its trademark rights to the name in 2009, but Proview Technology says this was not the case. Proview Technology has filed lawsuits to attempt to ban the sale of the iPad across China, but it would drop all of these lawsuits if Apple pays it US$400m in compensation.

It claims that the trademark rights were never transferred as Apple bought them from a Taiwan subsidiary company as opposed to Proview Technology itself. The Chinese company claims its subsidiary never had permission to sell it off.

However, Apple’s letter reportedly says the company was aware of trademark talks, as there were emails exchanged between Proview Technology and a UK-based company set up by Apple to acquire the iPad trademark. The letter also says Proview Technology’s headquarters negotiated and accepted the offer to buy the trademark and promised to make the transfer.

Chinese custom authorities recently told Proview Technology that introducing an iPad ban could be difficult to enforce, due to the size of the market in China.