A senior official with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has been quoted saying that Proview Technologies is the rightful owner of the name “iPad” in China.
The long-standing dispute between Shenzhen-based subsidiary of parent company, Proview International Holdings Ltd. and the world’s most valuable technology company, Apple Inc, had begun all the way back in 2010 with Proview first filing a trademark infringement lawsuit against Apple. It alleged Apple for infringing Proview’s owned patent of the word “iPad”, and they had a list of both monetary and other demands from Apple.
Since then, most notable developments include Proview requesting for exports and imports of iPads to be blocked, Proview having sued Apple in the U.S. as well as a Shanghai people’s court rejecting Proview’s request to ban iPad sales. There have, of course, been other minor bumps along the way.
Further, Apple was fined 240 million yuan ($38 million) by government authorities over alleged trademark infringement involving the “iPad” name.
The first public comment from anyone related to the government has been quoted by Reuters:
“According to the … provisions of the China Trademark Law, currently Shenzhen Proview is the legal registrant of the iPad trademark,” Fu Shuangjian, a deputy director of SAIC, was quoted as saying at a news conference in Beijing. [...]
[...] “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,” said Fu, whose department governs market regulation and supervision.
If there’s any sort of indication provided by the aforementioned quotes, then it seems as if the court may be leaning in the favor of Proview. However, this could very well as not be the case if it’s simply a personal opinion of Fu.
The conflict is that Apple also believes it owns rights to the name. Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu has previously provided defense on Apple’s part:
“We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter.”
Apple has yet to respond to questions by Reuters, but Proview’s lawyers have stated that they are in the talks with those of Apple’s; (obviously) no agreement has been reached. Proview have favored an out-of-court settlement which would have required monetary compensation. Analysts believe this is route favored due to Proview’s need to repay its creditors.
We’ll keep you updated on the Proview-Apple case as it continues to develop.