Apple iPad Lawsuit Dismissed By US Court

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A lawsuit that accused Apple of deceiving a Chinese company into selling the iPad name has been thrown out of court

A US court has thrown out Proview Electronics’ lawsuit against Apple over the use of the iPad trademark. Judge Mark Pierce in the Superior Court of the State of California (in Santa Clara County) has approved Apple’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Proview has been legally challenging Apple in China, but in February the company opened a new lawsuit against the iPad maker on Apple’s home turf in the United States.

US Decision

Apple has been arguing that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that the parties had agreed to settle any legal disagreements in Hong Kong and this is the view that Judge Pierce has upheld. He ruled that Proview failed to provide evidence that the selection of Hong Kong was “unreasonable or unfair.”

An Apple spokeswoman was quoted by the WSJ as reiterating the company’s position that it had rightfully purchased the iPad name from Proview, adding “Proview refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China.”

But Proview remains convinced justice has not been served. Christopher Evans, a lawyer for Proview, was quoted as saying that the decision to dismiss “was not based on the merits of the case.”

“We are looking forward to presenting the facts in the case to the appellate court, and we are confident that the facts will show that Apple fraudulently obtained the iPad trademarks,” the Proview statement said.

Apple Deception?

The battle between Apple and Proview has been ongoing for a number of months now. At the heart of the dispute is the claims made by Proview that Apple deceived it into selling the iPad brand name.

Proview reportedly acquired the iPad trademark in the early 2000s, but it sold some international rights to the iPad name to Apple in 2006 for the bargin-basement price of just $55,000 (£35,000). However when Apple tried to register the name in mainland China the move was denied by the Chinese trademark office, which said that the iPad trademark already had an owner.

This was despite the fact that Apple said that Proview had sold the mainland Chinese rights to the iPad trademark in a later 2009 deal. Proview objected and launched its lawsuits, claiming that Apple had disguised its role in the purchasing of the trademark.

It alleged that Apple created a special purpose entity, namely ‘IP Application Development Ltd (or IPAD’ in order to acquire the iPad name. Proview alleged that lawyers for ‘IPAD’ repeatedly said it would not be competing with the Chinese firm, and refused to say why they needed the trademark.

Proview has been aggressively pursuing compensation by requesting that all sales and exports of the iPad be banned in China, but was deal a blow in February when it lost its appeal to ban sales of the tablet in the city of Shanghai.

With the US lawsuit now dismissed, focus will now shift to the legal fight in China, where the court in China’s southern Guangdong province, has urged both companies to reach a settlement.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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