Apple appeals China iPad trademark decision

Macworld Australia Staff
1 February, 2012
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Apple has appealed against a Chinese court ruling from last December that rejected its ownership of the iPad trademark in the country, and which could expose the company to trademark infringement lawsuits from a local firm.

The maker of the iconic iPad has filed the appeal last month with the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong Province, according to a statement from Proview International, a little known Chinese display monitor company that claims control over the iPad trademark in mainland China.

Apple had originally filed a lawsuit against Proview to assert its control of the trademark. But In December, the Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court announced it had rejected Apple’s claim.

In its lawsuit, Apple claimed that a Proview subsidiary in Taiwan had sold the iPad trademark rights to a UK-based company called IP Applications. The trademark rights were then sold to Apple in 2010.

The Shenzhen court, however, ruled that the transfer of trademark rights were only made through Proview’s Taiwan subsidiary. Proview’s Shenzhen-based company, on the other hand, did not attend trademark negotiations, and did not formally transfer any trademark rights, according to the court.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the legal action.

Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview, said that Apple had asked for the transfer of the iPad trademark to it in the appeal. It is also asking for compensation from Proview to the tune of 4 million yuan (close to $600,000) in legal fees.

Apple’s appeal claims that Proview’s Taiwan subsidiary was acting as a representative for Proview’s Shenzhen-based company, he said. But Proview maintains it had no such relationship with the Taiwan subsidiary, and was not in any talks about transferring the iPad trademarks, Xie added.

Apple is making the appeal as Proview has already filed two lawsuits in Chinese courts, demanding that Apple and local vendor Gome Electronics stop selling tablets using the iPad name. The cases are still pending, Xie said.

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