Court set to hear appeal of iPad trademark ruling

Updated: 2012-02-29 08:01

By Zhang Zhao (China Daily)

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Court set to hear appeal of iPad trademark ruling

A Proview Technology attorney surrounded by reporters as a Pudong district court in Shanghai considered a bid to stop iPad sales. With the case under appeal at a higher court in Guangdong province, the court declined to enforce a ban. [Gao'erqiang / China Daily]

Complex case, insatiable appetite for Apple devices

When the Guangdong High People's Court begins hearing an appeal today in the much-publicized iPad trademark dispute, it will be the latest chapter in a convoluted saga of subsidiary firms, the enormous debt of a failed electronics company and the value of one of the world's most-recognized product names.

As the second trial in the case and an appeal of a lower court decision, the verdict will be final under Chinese law.

If the court finds that international electronics giant Apple Inc infringed on the trademark rights of Proview Technology, its wildly popular iPad tablet computers will be banned from sale on the Chinese mainland.

"Very little new evidence can be presented to the higher court on appeal, so the lawyers' strategies will play a more important part," National Business Daily quoted an anonymous lawyer saying.

Coming into the latest legal battle, Apple has hired a new law firm, King & Wood, believed to be one of the nation's best in intellectual property. Jiang Zhipei, the former presiding judge of the IP division at the Supreme People's Court, is a consultant to the firm.

For its part, Proview Technology has kept the same legal team it had when it prevailed in a Shenzhen court last November.

Li Su, litigation consultant for Proview, which is based in Shenzhen, gave the odds of his client winning "as high as 80 to 90 percent" at a press conference on Feb 17.

There could be cause for optimism. Proview's victory in Shenzhen "was made after two years of investigation", said independent lawyer Qu Yinghua from the Shanghai Guonian Law Firm.

"Over those two years, the court must have communicated with the higher court, so the original judgment is very likely to be upheld," he said.

But in a related case heard last week in Shanghai - where Proview Technology sued Apple's chief distributor in China - the court rejected a request to stop iPad sales.

Adding to the complexity, Proview announced on Feb 24 that it had filed suit against Apple in the United States.

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