Apple has decided to up the ante on trademark dispute foe and failed Asian monitor vendor Proview, accusing the firm of misleading the courts and of trying to milk the iPad maker for more money in order to pay off its creditors.
The two have been locked in a long running legal battle over who owns the IPAD trademark in China.
Apple says it bought the rights fair and square from Proview’s Taiwan entity Proview Electronics while Proview argues that only its Shenzhen affiliate Proview Technology has the right to sell the IPAD trademark for use in China.
They are currently awaiting the outcome of Apple’s appeal against a December 2011 judgement in Proview’s favour, although the judges in the case have already asked both parties to settle out of court.
Having repeated the same mantra for weeks that Proview is not honouring the original agreement and that a court in Hong Kong has sided with it on the matter, Apple decided to turn up the heat a little.
We've asked Apple for confirmation of the widely reported statement, but in the meantime here's what they sent to AP.
Proview is misleading Chinese courts and customers with claims that the iPad trademarks cannot be transferred, or that mistakes were made in handling the transaction. We respect Chinese laws and regulations, and as a company that generates a lot of intellectual property we would never knowingly abuse someone else’s trademarks.
It goes on to say that despite approaching Proview Shenzhen through a third party in 2009 for access to the trademarks, it was directed to Proview Taiwan because the ailing Shenzhen affiliate didn’t want to be forced to pay its creditors.
“Proview didn’t want to pay its debts in 2009 when it sold the iPad trademarks, and because they still owe a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a trademark we already paid for,” the statement continued.
Proview has since hit back, telling AP that it is Apple who is misleading the courts and that it doesn’t make sense for it to have forced Apple to sign with Proview Taiwan as the amount it received for the trademark - £35,000 – was so small anyway.
Apple’s arguments certainly make sense, given that Proview’s Shenzhen affiliate is basically a shell of a company with a headquarters in disrepair and various reports emerged last week stating that one of its creditors is seeking to have the company liquidated, claiming it owes over $8m in debts.
However, Apple has also been portrayed in recent weeks in a less than favourable light. Proview went on the offensive at the end of February by filing in a US court arguing that the fondleslab maker used deception and fraud to trick Proview into selling it the IPAD patents back in 2009.
The only certain winners in this case at the moment are the lawyers representing both sides. ®