Proview Sues to Regain Global Rights to iPad Name

Apple storeProview Electronics says it is now seeking
to regain worldwide rights to the iPad name and is suing Apple Inc. for
alleged fraud and unfair competition, hoping to have a 2009 sale of the
trademark ruled void.

The Taiwan-based maker
of LED lights said in a release late Monday that it had amended its
lawsuit filed earlier this month in Santa Clara, California’s Superior

Apart from having the trademark sale
voided, it also is seeking unspecified compensation, a share of Apple’s
profits from alleged “unfair competition” and an order for Apple to stop
using the trademarks.

Apple had no immediate comment.

insists it owns the rights to the iPad trademark in mainland China. A
Shanghai court last week rejected its demand for an injunction
preventing Apple from selling the iPad.

also postponed hearing the case pending a decision by a court in
southern China’s Guangdong Province, where Proview’s mainland Chinese
factory is based. The Guangdong High Court is due to convene Wednesday
for an appeal by Apple of a lower court judgment against the U.S.
company’s claim to the trademark.

It is
unclear if Proview’s latest legal maneuver is driven by the expectation
of a favorable ruling by the Guangdong High Court or by its desire to
push Apple for an out-of-court settlement – an option Proview’s lawyers
have said would be possible.

Apple has given
no sign it would be willing to settle. It contends Proview failed to
transfer ownership of the mainland Chinese iPad trademark as agreed in
the 2009 deal.

Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer who is
representing Proview in China but is not involved in the U.S. case, said
Tuesday the dispute in China centers only on ownership and infringement
of the iPad trademark, not on the validity of the 2009 deal.

its release, Proview said its amended complaint in the U.S. case is
meant to provide details of Apple’s alleged “fraudulent actions.”

the many allegations in the U.S complaint are fraud by intentional
misrepresentation, fraud by concealment, fraudulent inducement, and
unfair competition,” Proview said.

If the 2009
deal is ruled void, iPad trademarks for the European Union, South
Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam would revert
back to Proview Taiwan, it said.

Proview, once
a major computer monitor manufacturer, launched its own version of
iPAD, or Internet Personal Access Device, in 2000 but it was not a
market hit. Apple launched its popular iPad in 2010.

contends Apple intentionally misled it when it bought iPad trademarks
through a special purpose company called IP Application Development Ltd.
that concealed it was acting on Apple’s behalf.

in the high-tech field say such tactics are common given the secrecy
surrounding new product launches, especially Apple’s.

But Proview says IP Application Development told it that it wanted the trademark because it was an abbreviation of its name.

some technology companies create special purpose vehicles in order to
obtain trademarks, in this case the sole function of Apple’s special
purpose vehicle was intentional misrepresentation, and an effort to
fraudulently induce Proview Taiwan into a sale of the IPAD trademarks,”
Cal Kenney, a spokesman for Proview, said in the release.

Researcher Fu Ting contributed to this report.

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