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February 24, 2012

Proview sues Apple in the US

WSJ has just reported that Proview Electronics, the Chinese company suing Apple over th iPad trademark, has filed a case against Apple in the US. The lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara, California, on Feb 17, but went previously unreported.

According to Chinadaily Proview had registered the trademark Ipad in 2000 in several countries but sold it to Apple in 2010:
Apple bought the right to use the trademark from Proview Taipei in February 2010 via IP Application Development Limited (IP), a company based in the US. However, Proview Shenzhen claims it still reserves the right to use the trademark on the Chinese mainland.
Macrumours reported that the Proviews suit alleges:
Apple set up a dummy corporation known as IP Application Development Ltd (IPAD) to conduct negotiations with Proview over the trademark back in 2009, and Proview's suit alleges that Apple's efforts to keep its identity secret amounted to fraud.
In its filing, Proview alleged lawyers for IPAD repeatedly said it would not be competing with the Chinese firm, and refused to say why they needed the trademark.
Those representations were made "with the intent to defraud and induce the plaintiffs to enter into the agreement," Proview said in the filing dated February 17, requesting an unspecified amount of damages.

The fight between Apple and Proview has taken a new turn, and it will be interesting to see what, if any, restrictions are placed on Apple.

EDIT: News reports indicate that Great Dragon, a make of in-car GPS voice navigation systems, wanted to acquire the trademark but was rebuffed by Proview who wanted US$60mn.

Weird part is that Proview is alleged to have sold the trademark for only £35,000 or ~US$60,000. What I don't understand is why they diddn't negotiate with Gold Dragon, as even 1% of their initial demand would have been US$600,000 or 10 times of what Apple is reported to have paid them.

Tried finding more info on Proview, but the initial impression is not very good:
  • Has not traded since August 2010 and could get delisted in June 2012
  • Has not filed financial details in a long time. Has a section in, but with no reports
  • Rumoured, that the company is heavily in debt
  • The website no longer works
  • Various documents seem to support Apple's stand. A HK court has already ruled in Apple's favour
Go to this excellent link at AllThingsD to see Apple's supporting evidence.

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