Proview says no settlement negotiations yet with Apple over iPad trademark

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Proview's lawyer has revealed that the company is still hoping Apple will get in contact to begin out-of-court negotiations for a settlement in the ongoing legal disagreement over ownership of the Chinese iPad trademark.

The three-judge panel for the Higher People's Court of Guangdong asked Proview and Apple whether they wished to settle during a hearing on Thursday, but, according to Roger Xie, Proview's lawyer, Apple has yet to come to the table.

“Up to now, we didn’t have any formal negotiations with Apple,” Xie said in an interview. “I hope they will positively contact us and make an appointment with us about formal negotiations out of court. It would be useful.”

Earlier this week, representatives for Apple and Proview exchanged arguments in court. Apple maintains that it did in fact purchase the rights to the Chinese "iPad" trademark and that Proview refuses to uphold its end of the bargain. Proview claims that the deal was never properly made, as it argues that representatives from its Shenzhen subsidiary, which controls the mark, were not present when the agreement was signed.

Proview has set its hopes on a win against Apple to help keep it afloat. The company was at one point a prominent monitor maker, but it has struggled in recent years and is in danger of being delisted from the Hong Kong stock exchange. Various reports suggest Proview is looking for as much as $2 billion in damages from Apple.

A Shanghai court sided in favor of Apple last week. However, a lower court ruling from last November came down on Proview's side.

Apple has threatened Proview with a defamation countersuit, alleging that the company's founder has been making inaccurate statements to the press. For its part, Proview has filed a U.S. complaint against Apple accusing the company of fraud and unfair competition. The company alleges that Apple tricked Proview by using a front company to purchase the mark under "false pretext."

Some officials in China have already begun acting on earlier rulings in favor of Proview. A small number of iPad units have been seized by local officials, though the confiscations do not appear to be widespread.

Chinese officials inspect iPad 2 units after confiscating them. | Credit: Hebei Youth Daily

The lawsuit has high stakes for Apple, as iPad sales are growing rapidly in China. The Cupertino, Calif., company is also gearing up to unveil a third-generation iPad at a media event next week. Depending on how Apple fares in court against Proview, the next-gen iPad could potentially be blocked from sale in the country.


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