“Proview is a contract manufacturer of flat screens that made an unsuccessful attempt almost a decade ago to market a tablet computer it called I-Pad,” Kathrin Hille and Joseph Menn report for The Financial Times. “The company registered trademarks for the IPAD name in the EU, China, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam between 2000 and 2004, trademark databases show.”
“However, in pending cases in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Apple won preliminary injunctions to stop Proview from selling off the IPAD name, according to people involved in the cases,” Hille and Menn report. “They said the courts had not yet reached the issue of ownership. Apple said it would not comment on pending litigation.”
“According to Mr Yang Rongshan, Proview’s chairman, Proview Electronics (Taiwan) agreed in 2006 to sell the ‘global trademark’ for the IPAD name to a US-registered company called IP Application Development (IPAD) for £35,000 ($55,104). Proview did not at the time suspect the company had any link with Apple,” Hille and Menn report. “However, Mr Yang claims that the trademarks for the Chinese market were not included in that agreement. These were filed in 2000 by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), another affiliate of Proview International, the group’s Hong Kong-listed holding company, rather than by the Taiwan unit.”
“A group of Chinese creditor banks seized the assets of Proview’s Shenzhen unit, including the trademarks, after the company defaulted on loans worth $400m. Mr Yang said both Proview’s shareholders and creditors were eager to see the trademarks sold at the highest possible price – but this action has been blocked by the preliminary injunctions granted after Apple and IP Application Development sued Proview,” Hille and Menn report. “Apple’s suit seeks an order requiring Proview to assign the IPAD trademarks for China to IP Application Development, pointing to the 2006 agreement. But according to online trademark databases, the ownership of the EU trademark for IPAD changed from Proview to Apple this year. Two IPAD trademarks registered in China are still shown as belonging to Proview.”
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