February 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Proview move to halt iPad sales rebuffed

A Shanghai court has rejected a request by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), the struggling electronics company that lays claim to the iPad trademark in China, to suspend iPad sales in the city, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

“We had requested an injunction that would force Apple to stop sales of the iPad on the grounds that they are infringing upon Proview’s trademark, but the court has rejected our request and decided that it will not hear the case,” said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Proview.

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The decision does not end Apple’s increasingly bitter intellectual property dispute with the Taiwanese-owned group but does avert additional damage for the US company.

Proview, a display products maker, registered the iPad trademark in several countries between 2000 and 2004. When Apple prepared its tablet, it purchased the “global“ trademark from Proview Taiwan, another affiliate of the Hong Kong-listed group holding company. But Proview argues that the China trademark was not included in that agreement because it belongs to its Shenzhen affiliate.

A Hong Kong court has sided with Apple on the issue, but a court in Guangdong province in December rejected a request by Apple to transfer the China trademark to its name – a ruling Apple has appealed.

Proview is negotiating with Apple over an extra payment for the China trademark, but nonetheless has been trying to get iPad sales suspended by several different means. It has asked local governments to pull the device from stores, but succeeded in only one case in a northern Chinese city. It has also sued two large electronics retailers in two southern Chinese cities over iPad sales. In one case, a Huizhou court has ruled that Sundan, one of the retailers, has infringed the trademark and must stop sales of the device. But Sundan is expected to appeal the ruling.

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