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Thursday, June 14, 2012, 03:15 pm PT (06:15 pm ET)

Chinese court to delay 'iPad' trademark ruling until mediation completes

A Chinese court will postpone a ruling for an Apple appeal of a previous decision that denied the company of the iPad name, saying that the iPhone maker must first finish court-sponsored talks with Proview Technology.

According to spokesman from the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong's foreign affairs office, the body will sit on a ruling for Apple's Feb. 29 appeal as long as the two parties continue talks over the iPad moniker, reports Bloomberg

Under normal operating conditions the Chinese court would issue a ruling on an appeal within three months, but that time frame has been thrown out the window because Apple and Proview have yet to wrap up cases in other jurisdictions.

The iPad trademark case is currently being disputed in multiple courts as the near-bankrupt Proview tries to milk its last remaining major asset.

“The mediation will continue,” said Proview lawyer Roger Xie. “There is no specific deadline.”

Proview asserts that Apple infringed upon the company's "IPAD" trademark when the iPad was released in 2010. Apple has countered by noting that it legally bought the "global rights" to the name in 2006 with a purchase made through a U.K.-based proxy company called IP Application Development (IPAD) for $55,000. Once Proview figured out that Apple was behind the deal, it seemingly used technicalities to skirt the previous arrangement and file suit against the iPhone maker.

Proview IPAD

Proview's defunct IPAD (Internet Personal Access Device). | Source: The Wall Street Journal


At one point, the Shenzhen company claimed that Apple's purchase was illegitimate because the deal was made with a Taiwan affiliate not authorized to sell the name. Proview also claimed that the Chinese rights to the iPad trademark were not included in the sale. Apple fired back and threatened to file a defamation countersuit citing a breach of "principles of good faith and dealing."

Most recently, Proview attempted to bring the case to U.S. shores with a complaint filed in California but that suit was thrown out. Apple offered to settle in May with a $16 million payout but the terms were rejected as the number doesn't come close to the $400 million sought by the Chinese company.

Apple's latest third-generation iPad was recently approved for sale in China and the tablet is likely to hit shelves in that country sometime soon.

Representatives for both parties had no comment regarding the ongoing litigation and it remains unclear when the grievance will be put to rest.