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


Cash-strapped Proview has set a price of $400 million for the trademark, funds its Hong Kong-listed parent company Proview International needs to service nearly $500 million in debt. The company's creditors include Bank of China and Bank of Communications.

Trade in Proview shares was suspended on the Hong Kong exchange in May after it declared bankruptcy.

With its assets frozen, the iPad trademark is believed to hold the greatest potential value for Proview.

You Yunting, a partner at the DeBund Law office, said Apple "definitely would not accept the price" because it would be very bad for its global strategy.

When Apple unveiled the iPhone, it bought the trademark from Chinese electronics company Hanvon for only $3.65 million.

The US company communicated about a settlement with Proview after losing the first court case, but "it never talked about the essence or gave a feasibility plan", said Xiao Caiyuan, another lawyer for Proview Technology.

"We believe Apple doesn't want to negotiate," he said.

One seal missing

The final round in court will also hear legalities about Apple's original effort to acquire the name.

Using a UK shell company, Apple bought the iPad trademark from Taiwan Proview Electronics in 2009.

According to Wang Tianle, general manager of the Henan trademark law firm Windbrand, Apple "might have thought the deal included the Chinese mainland" as the corporate representative of both Shenzhen and Taiwan Proview was the same person - Rowell Yang, also known as Yang Long-san.

But Apple failed to notice the difference in regulations between Taiwan and the mainland, Wang said.

"In Taiwan, the signature of the company's chairman on the contract will be OK, but according to laws on the Chinese mainland, the company's seal counts," he explained.

The contract for the iPad trademark transfer does not include the seal of Proview Technology.

"If Apple and Yang both understood that the contract included Shenzhen Proview and affixed a seal (of the Shenzhen company), then there would not be a dispute now," he said.