Apple has heavily criticized Proview in its latest statement. Proview is the Chinese company that has chosen to sue the Cupertino company for trademark violations in using the 'iPad' name for its tablets. Apple Inc. called the repeated claims made by Proview Electronics of owning all iPad trademarks within the borders of China 'misleading' and 'unfair'.
|A monitor made by Proview (via Wikimedia Commons)
Apple finds itself in a curious position with respect to its legal standing. It has chosen to stick to a constant tirade of legal suits against Android device manufacturers on the grounds of patent violations over the last two years. Samsung, in particular, has been a constant adversary in courtrooms, with the Korean company filing numerous countersuits against Apple in the same period.
Now, after its entry into the Chinese mainland to retail its massively popular iPhones and iPads, Apple finds itself in a protracted legal battle with another name - a struggling manufacturer of LED lights and computer screen called Proview Electronics. Proview has sued them for $1.6 billion for using the 'iPad' trademark, after Apple started selling the popular tablets in China. The irony is that 'iPAD' was the name of an iMac clone made by Proview, launched way back in 1998. The Chinese company faces huge debts and possible liquidation, something that Apple claims is the sole reason for the iPad controversy.
Proview is said to be basing its legal action on the grounds that a trademark registered in China was implicitly applicable in the rest of the world too. The Apple statement confirmed as much:
“Proview is misleading Chinese courts and customers with claims that the iPad trademarks cannot be transferred, or that mistakes were made in handling the transaction”
Apple also claims that Proview has sold the iPad name and 10 other trademarks to them in 2009 for a sum of $55,000. Its statement alleged:
“Proview didn’t want to pay its debts in 2009 when it sold the iPad trademarks, and because they still owe a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a trademark we already paid for”
Apple and Proview look set to lock horns for some time to come. Proview has been pushing for an out of court settlement, but Apple has steadfastly refused to budge an inch. A tiny Chinese company seems to be proving to be the most dogged legal rival Apple has faced so far, and there may still be a lot to come before this saga gets done with.