Apple Sued For Fraud Over iPad Trademark in China
Los Angeles – On February 17, 2012, Proview Electronics, a computer monitor company based in China and subsidiary of Proview Technology, Inc., filed a complaint with the Santa Clara County Superior Court against Apple. In the complaint, Proview claims that it owns the Chinese trademark rights for iPad and is suing Apple for its use of the trademark in China.
This lawsuit, which has also been filed in various Chinese jurisdictions, and now in the U.S., stems back to 2006 when a company named IP Application Development Limited offered to buy the iPad naming rights in China from Proview for approximately $55,000. Proview claims that Apple hired a law firm to form the company IP Application Development Limited and bid on the iPad Chinese trademark name on Apple’s behalf. Proview also alleges that there was no indication that IP Application Development Limited was linked to Apple. Proview states that it was assured by an employee of IP Application Development via email that the iPad trademark would be used to reference the company name as an acronym and that it would not be used to compete against financially distraught Proview. Also, Proview claims that the said email is fraudulent not only for hiding its relationship with Apple, but the author of the email used the false name of Jonathan Hargreaves to possibly disguise his connection to Apple.
On December 23, 2009, Proview sold the iPad trademark rights to IP Application Development Limited and on January 27, 2010, Apple revealed the iPad tablet computer, which sold about 15 million iPads worldwide last quarter. Proview alleges that in its 2009 contract with Apple, it sold the iPad naming rights but excluded China.
Proview has requested that its 2009 contract with Apple be declared void due to fraud. Also, Proview has requested that the courts grant its request of banning Apple from using the iPad trademark in China, as well as banning or suspending sales of the iPad in China. In multiple Chinese jurisdictions, some stores have removed iPads from shelves or have stopped selling iPads all together until the conclusion of this trademark infringement. Proview has threatened to sue Apple for $2 billion but has stated that it is open to settlement.
Posted in: Trademark Infringement