Apple escapes iPad sales ban but Proview war isn’t over

Feb 23, 2012
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Apple has successfully squashed attempts to secure a preliminary sales injunction against the iPad 2 in Shanghai, keeping the iOS tablet on Chinese shelves and casting further doubt over the future success of  Proview's trademark case. The Shanghai court suspended the case and rejected Proview's demands for an early sales ban on the iPad, the WSJ reports, until it could hear the trademark ruling being argued in the Guangdong provincial high court.

Apple contends that it purchased the iPad trademark from a Proview subsidiary several years ago, and that it is legally entitled to use the name in China. Proview, however, argues that the subsidiary had no legal right to sell the trademark, and claims to still hold the rights; it sought a sales ban in Shanghai, perhaps Apple's biggest market within China, and hinted that it was chasing an expensive out-of-court settlement.

Apple has threatened Proview with a defamation suit, saying its chairman was fully aware of the transaction despite his current denials, and producing a cache of evidence that would seemingly substantiate that.

Further hints that this is a cash-chase by Proview's current creditors - who are steering the company through bankruptcy proceedings - continues to arise. The Shenzhen company was owned by Bank of China, China Minsheng Banking Corp. and other high-profile financial institutions, Proview founder Rowell Yang says, at the time of the trademark transaction."We can’t make any agreements without the creditors" Yang told Bloomberg. Without those banks lending their permission, the sale wasn't legitimate it's suggested.

Proview hasn't said - or, it claims, decided - on how much exactly it will be asking Apple for in a trademark settlement, describing earlier figures of $1.6bn "preliminary." The company says it is yet to decide a response to today's Shanghai court decision.


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