Friday, May 11, 2012

Apple offers $16 million to settle iPad trademark case, but Proview wants $400 million

It seems as though Apple has decided that settlement is the way to go in its battle with Proview, over the iPad trademark in China. Reportedly, Apple has offered $16 million to settle the dispute.

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Unfortunately, Proview wants - or needs - far, far more.

According to a report by Sina (via the Beijing Times), Apple has offered 100 million yuan ($16 million) for rights to the iPad trademark in China. However, Proview, which is cash-strapped, has rebuffed those terms. It is thought that the struggling company is seeking at least $400 million (over 2.5 billion yuan) in order to satisfy its creditors. Eight of those creditors are Chinese banks.

In 2009, Apple used a convoluted web of misdirection in an attempt to buy the trademark, setting up a shell company named IP Application Development (IPAD) Limited. Proview, or at least a subsidiary, sold the trademark to the shell company, but later said that Apple committed fraud by intentional misrepresentation, concealment, inducement, and unfair competition.

Proview has also claimed that, even if valid, the sale only gave Apple rights to the iPad trademark in Taiwan, not in mainland China.

It's rather a complex, confusing mess, with a lot of he said, she said sort of activity. While Proview failed to get a U.S. court to consider its battle against Apple, a Chinesecourt ruled in Proview's favor in December, and that eventually led to the seizure of iPads from stores in cities throughout China - though not everywhere.

While still a significant amount, that $400 million would be far below what Proview originally sought. When it filed its lawsuit in the U.S., the company said it wanted $2 billion for the trademark.

Apple launched its third-generation iPad tablet in March, calling it the "new iPad." The device featured a retina display, North American LTE support, and other new features, but while Apple has expanded it into other markets since the release, the company has not yet launched the device in China. Many believe that Apple wants to settle the Proview trademark fight before launching the device in China.

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