Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chinese government official says Proview owns iPad trademark

A Chinese official with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has made the government's first public comments on the issue of just who owns the iPad trademark in China. His statement signals a possible negative outcome for Apple in its battle against Chinese company Proview Technology.

Fu Shuangjian, a deputy director of SAIC, said the following at a news conference in Beijing:

"According to the ... provisions of the China Trademark Law, currently Shenzhen Proview is the legal registrant of the iPad trademark. This case has a huge impact and the final court ruling would directly influence who owns the iPad trademark. The commerce department will (take the matter) very seriously,"

It's a possible signal of how Chinese courts will rule in the matter.

The Proview vs. Apple dust-up has been in progress for a long time. Apple says that it acquired the iPad trademark in various countries, including China, when in 2009 it bought the rights from Taiwan's Proview International for 35,000 British pounds (or $55,000).

Proview Technology, however, disagrees, claiming that although Apple bought the rights to the iPad name from subsidiary Proview International, it still owns the trademark in China.

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In December of 2011, Proview won a court ruling that stated the company was not bound by the 2009 sale. That did not halt the legal battles, though. In February, a hearing was held at the Higher People's Court in Guangzhou, but that court has not issued a ruling.

Meanwhile, Proview's lawyers are still negotiating with Apple's lawyers over a possible out-of-court settlement, but no agreement has been reached.

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