Proview sues Apple over 'iPad' moniker in U.S.

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In a surprising turn, a previously unreported court filing reveals that Chinese company Proview is suing Apple over the 'iPad' trademark in a California court, further convoluting the protracted fracas.

The finding, reported on Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, comes on the heels of an announcement from Proview's lawyer Xie Xianghui that the two companies were reportedly ready to negotiate.

Proview filed the suit against Apple in the Superior Court of the State of California in Santa Clara County on Feb. 17, almost one week prior to Xie's claims made on Tuesday. The company made no previous mention of the U.S. complaint.

In the filing, the Shenzhen-based display manufacturer asserts that Apple committed fraud by purchasing the "iPad" name through a proxy company set up by one of the iPhone maker's law firms.

Proview Shenzhen claims that Apple acted "with oppression, fraud and/or malice," when it used U.K.-based IP Application Development, Ltd. to buy the rights from a Taiwanese affiliate in 2009 for a reported 35,000 British pounds, or $55,000.

The U.S. suit differs from its Chinese counterparts that claim the purchase to be void because Proview Shenzhen didn't authorize its affiliate to sell the trademark.

The Hong Kong-based umbrella company for the Chinese firm, Proview International Holdings, alleges that it had no knowledge of the sale despite Apple's assertions to the contrary.

It is not clear if the U.S. claim will affect the outcome of a pending Chinese court case, though it seems that the California filing is an admission that Proview was indeed aware of the trademark's sale.

Apple continues to claim that it rightfully purchased the rights, and has threatened to level a defamation countersuit against the bankrupt Chinese company over the matter.

It was announced earlier today that Proview was unsuccessful in blocking sales of Apple's popular tablet in Shanghai, one of China's most affluent cities.