There is a ray of light in darkness. A ray of hope.
In China, where the whole judicial system and government were supporting the unfair claims of Proview about the ownership of “iPad” name (despite Apple presenting all the evidence of purchasing the rights to use “iPad” name), a Shanghai court has rejected Proview’s plea to ban the sales of Apple’s iPad.
Proview suffered a blow as the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court rejected a preliminary injunction against the sale of the iPad. Now Apple can continue selling iPads in its flagship Shanghai stores without fear (and embarrassment) of sales suspension.
The hearings are postponed. However, both companies are awaiting the results of a separate case in the Guangdong provincial high court. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Proview had sought the injunction, saying it owns the iPad trademark in China. Apple, which contends that it previously purchased the rights to the iPad name from Proview, had applied in Shanghai to suspend proceedings on Wednesday. Ma Dongxiao, an attorney representing Proview, said the company doesn’t yet have a response.
Reuters said Apple is appealing a December court verdict ruled in Proview’s favor. Reuters reported that “A higher court hearing for the appeal is set for February 29 in China’s southern province of Guangdong.” Interestingly, it has been revealed recently that the Bank of China and Minsheng Bank are controlling debt-laden Proview since March 2009. As a result, Proview is not allowed to make any agreements without the creditors’ approval. One trademark lawyer told Business Week:
Right now, the most valuable asset of Proview Group is the iPad trademark registration in China. Assuming the creditors have control of the affairs of Proview Shenzhen, it might be in their best interest to get a settlement as quickly as possible to monetize the Proview assets.
Desperately in need of money, Proview resorted to the attempts of extortion by demanding Appel to pay US $ 1.5 billion to use iPad name in China, despite the fact that Apple had purchased the rights from Proview in 2009. Proview had marketed and sold an iMac-like desktop in 2000 named I-PAD. Lawyers representing Proview, took a stance ahead of the hearings on 22 February 2012. They said that an out-of-court settlement with Apple “is quite possible.” Apple responded by saying that Proview’s trademark is invalid because its I-PAD computer had not been on sale for years. Apple also argued that its own tablet called iPad was benefiting China’s economy through the creation of manufacturing jobs and tax revenues:
Apple has huge sales in China. Its fans line up to buy Apple products. The ban, if executed, would not only hurt Apple sales but it would also hurt China’s national interest.
In 2009, Apple secretly founded a United Kingdom-based firm to get “iPad” trademark so that Proview would not know at the time that Apple was the purchaser. The successful purchase had given Apple, the legal right to sell its iPad in China but so far, all Chinese courts had been unfairly supporting Proview due to jingoistic feelings. Apple said Proview was not honoring the agreement. A Hong Court’s support for Apple was the first legal victory for Apple in China over the issue surrounding iPad trademark row.
Source: 9TO5 Mac