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Apple in talks with Proview to settle iPad trademark dispute

Discussions are underway between Apple and Proview as the two parties attempt to settle a dispute over ownership and use of the "iPad" name.

A lawyer representing Proview revealed on Friday to IDG News Service that the talks are currently happening. Neither Proview nor Apple would provide any additional details, but the news has sparked speculation that the matter could be resolved out of court.

Chinese law allows both parties in a dispute to engage in talks for a possible settlement before a ruling is issued. Those talks, however, are voluntary, and are not mandated by the court.

The talks began after the Chinese court recommended earlier this week that both sides attempt to mediate their dispute. If a resolution cannot be reached, a ruling will be issued by the Higher People's Court of Guandong Province.

Apple used a third-party company to purchase the rights to the iPad trademark from Proview in 2009. However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.

Proview and Apple are involved in a number of lawsuits throughout China, as Proview is attempting to block sales of the iPad and even exportation of the device, which would effectively bring worldwide sales to a halt. Proview has even taken its legal action against Apple to the U.S., filing suit in California over the "iPad" trademark.

At its peak, Proview was the manufacturer of a stripped-down PC it called the Internet Personal Access Device, or iPAD. The company also found some success building monitors before the global financial crisis hit and pushed it into bankruptcy. Now, it's a near-dead company with its ownership of the "IPAD" name its only major asset.