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Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 05:13 pm PT (08:13 pm ET)

Proview iPad suit against Apple thrown out of California court

A California judge has tossed out a trademark complaint brought against Apple by Proview Electronics Co. over the iPad name, however an identical case remains unsettled in China.

It was revealed on Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal that Judge Mark Pierce of the Superior Court of the State of California in Santa Clara County dismissed Proview's suit on May 4, three days prior to an announcement from Proview attorneys that suggested Apple may be willing to settle out of court.

First filed in California in February, Proview's complaint asserts that Apple acted "with oppression, fraud and/or malice" when it purchased the iPad moniker from company through a UK proxy named IP Application Development, Ltd. (IPAD, Ltd.). At the time, Proview attorney Xie Xianghui once again made statements that later turned out to be incongruous with actual court proceedings.

In a prepared statement, Proview lawyer Christopher Evans said the California decision to dismiss "was not based on the merits of the case." An Apple spokesperson rebutted the claim and reiterated that the company legally purchased the rights and that "Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China."

The trademark battle started in 2010 when the struggling Proview threatened to sue Apple for $1.5 billion, claiming that an earlier agreement to sell the "global trademark" didn't include the Chinese market. Since then, Proview has changed its tack and claimed that the iPad trademark purchase was illegitimate because it went through a Taiwanese affiliate and not the parent company in Hong Kong. Proview Electronics Co. is a subsidiary of Proview International Holdings Ltd., a nearly-dead corporation.

The suit is ongoing in China and it remains unclear what effect, if any, the California decision will have on those proceedings. Proview might not be done with its U.S. suit, however, as Evans said the company is "looking forward to presenting the facts in the case to the appellate court, and we are confident that the facts will show that Apple fraudulently obtained the iPad trademarks."