Apple faces renewed criticism over the Proview iPad trademark case, amid accusations that the shell company Apple set up deliberately mislead over its intended use of the trademark in order to secure the sale. Proview, which is currently suing Apple in the US, claims Apple’s “special purpose company” IPADL (IP Application Development Ltd) assured the Taiwanese firm that it sought the trademark as “it is an abbreviation for the company name” the BBC reports.
However, a month following the sale – which Proview also argues is not genuine – Apple launched the iPad. Proview is suing Apple in California for alleged fraud, and is seeking damages, costs, the voiding of the iPad trademark sale from 2009 itself, and – perhaps most devastating to Apple – a court ruling preventing Apple from using the iPad trademark in China.
Although it is not unusual for a high-profile firm to set up a shell company to complete a trademark transaction – something which Proview’s suit describes as “to obtain the iPad trademarks while obscuring the relationship between Apple and the acquisition” – so as to prevent overinflated negotiations, Proview suggests that Apple went significantly beyond that in deliberately misleading them.
Apple’s shell company “intentionally misrepresented” its intentions with the iPad trademark, though the delay of several years between the sale of the trademark and Proview’s case has raised some questions. The company says it undertook “an extensive investigation and due diligence” before filing the suit.