Apple sued over iPad trademark

By Pat Pilcher

Apple's iPad could potentially be banned in China if a lawsuits by a company that claims it owns the trademark. Photo / AFP
Apple's iPad could potentially be banned in China if a lawsuits by a company that claims it owns the trademark. Photo / AFP

In another legal twist within the litigation happy tech sector, Taiwan based Proview Electronics is suing Apple for a staggering US$1.6 billion - and an apology, alleging that the Cupertino computing giant had infringed its trademark for the iPad brand-name.

It appears that Apple had purchased the trademark from Proview for a mere US$55,000, using a front company called IP Application Development.

However things turned sour as Proview claim the deal didn't include the rights to the use iPad brand in the Chinese market, as those were owned by a Chinese subsidiary of Proview Technology.

Proview is seeking a total of 10 billion Yuan (US$1.6 billion) in damages and as would be expected, Apple has countersued, arguing that they are now the rightful owner of the trademark so there is no legal case to be answered.

The case has already been heard before a Chinese court who have already found in favour of Proview, but Apple is appealing.

Apple's lawyer, Xiao Caiyuan believes Apple will probably lose the appeal and has been quoted as saying that, "We have prepared well for a long-term legal battle."

According to Proview's lawyer, Xie Xianghui, the Chinese courts were ready to "slap Apple with a 240 million Yuan (US$38 million) fine," but the ruling has been delayed due to Apple's appeal."

While Samsung must be watching this legal bun fight with some degree of glee, the real losers at the end of the day could be the Chinese public and Apple's shareholders.

A ruling against Apple could see the company writing a big cheque to Proview, but may see iPads banned from mainland China.

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