February 23, 2012
iPad Sales Back On In Shanghai
A China court ruled in favor of Apple, determining that the company's iPad would still be available to buy in Shanghai for the time being.
The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court denied a request by Proview Technology to block Apple's iPad from being sold due to trademark infringement.
The court honored Apple's request that the trademark infringement case be suspended pending a ruling in a separate case in a higher court.
The decision allows Apple to battle Proview on a larger scale in China, which could be important for the technology company in trying to keep both production and sales alive in China.
Proview is suing Apple because it claims to hold the iPad trademark, which Apple claims it bought from the company back in 2009.
Apple claimed that Proview violated the sales contract by failing to transfer the trademark rights in mainland China. It also claims that Proview has not marketed its own "IPAD" for several years, making its claim to the trademark invalid.
There is still a chance that both companies could reach an out-of-court settlement, which could benefit Proview since the company is on the fringe of bankruptcy.
Proview said it will continue to pursue Apple for trademark infringement in other provincial courts.
“Right now, the most valuable asset of Proview Group is the iPad trademark registration in China,” Eugene Low, a trademark lawyer at Mayer Brown JSM in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg. “Assuming the creditors have control of the affairs of Proview Shenzhen, it might be in their best interest to get a settlement as quickly as possible to monetize the Proview assets.”
Proview founder Rowell Yang said that when Apple bought the trademark from Proview, the Shenzhen subsidiary was controlled by creditors. He said that Proview can't make any agreements without the creditors.
The company hasn't decided the final claim amount it will seek from Apple, and the $1.6 billion amount cited by China's state-run Xinhua News Agency was "preliminary", according to Proview's lawyer, Roger Xie.
Guangdong court will now be the ultimate decision of the iPad's fate in China, a decision that would affect the global supply of Apple's tablet computer.
Most of Apple's iPads are manufactured in China, so if the Customs Bureau approves Proview's request to block exports, it could put a strain on supply throughout the world.
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