Proview ready to negotiate on eve of Shanghai court hearing

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One day before deliberations are scheduled to begin over contested 'iPad' trademark rights in Shanghai, Chinese company Proview has said that it is preparing for out of court talks with Apple which could result in a settlement and bring an end to the prolonged dispute.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Proview's lawyer Xie Xianghui claimed that his legal team was prepping for talks with the tech giant, though declined to give details only saying that Apple had told the company it had "peaceful intentions," reports The Times of India.

"We are now preparing for negotiations," Xie said, adding that the court cases will continue until an agreement is reached.

The news comes on the heels of a minor win for the Shenzhen electronics company, as the Intermediate People's Court of Huizhou handed down a ruling on Monday that effectively banned local electronics store Sundan from selling the iPad 2.

Apple reportedly purchased the rights to the "iPad" name in 2006 from a Taiwan affiliate of Proview Shenzhen, though the Chinese company claims that the transaction was void and sued the iPhone maker in 2011. Proview subsequently asked the Chinese government to ban the import and export of the device earlier this month, though officials said that such a task would be difficult to enforce given the tablet's popularity in the region.

In addition to the pressure Proview is attempting to exert on government agencies, Apple is appealing a lower court ruling in Guangdong province that denied the company rights to the trademark.

Most recently, the world's largest tech company threatened to level a defamation suit against the cash-poor Proview over remarks relating to the ongoing court battle.

Apple has yet to give any official statement regarding the upcoming talks or a possible out of court settlement.

Chinese iPad 2 advertisement. | Source: Apple

Upcoming Shanghai hearing

A Shanghai court is scheduled to deliberate on the validity of Proview's claims on Wednesday, and the outcome would be a major win for either company as it would force Apple to halt sales of it's popular tablet in one of the richest cities in China.

According to Reuters, Xie is hoping for an injunction against the iPad, meaning that Apple would have to stop selling the tablet in one of its biggest Chinese markets. The Cupertino, Calif., company has five flagship stores in the country, three in Shanghai and two in Beijing.

"This is a court in Shanghai which means that it has jurisdiction, and its order should be observed in Shanghai, which is one of the biggest cities and biggest markets for Apple iPads in China," said head of Mayer Brown's Hong Kong intellectual property practice, Kenny Wong.

A judgment would likely take months, however, and Apple always has the option to appeal in the case of a loss.

Proview, on the other hand, is in dire need of financial relief as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has suspended trading of the company's stock after years of poor earnings. If no viable solution to its cash flow is found, Proview International Holdings, Ltd. will be delisted from the exchange in June.


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