Apple has been fighting a trademark infringement battle in China over the use of the term “iPad”.
The opponent? A Chinese display manufacturer by the name of Proview. Although Apple has recently lost the ability to sell iPads in several Chinese cities due to Proview requesting injunctions against the tablet Goliath, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region upheld Apple’s claim to the iPad trademark in mainland China last July.
Proview is viewed as a company that is trying to stay alive by using the courts to extract money from Apple. The monitor manufacturer will reportedly be delisted from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in June if it is unable to improve its finances.
The court decision noted that Proview had “breached an earlier agreement to transfer the iPad name to Apple,” electing instead to not transfer the trademark to Apple and asking Apple to pay US$10 million for it. Proview then sued Apple in late 2011; Apple countered with a lawsuit of its own in mainland China, but the courts found in favor of Proview.
Proview has recently filed complaints with the Chinese customs bureau to attempt iPads from being imported and/or shipped overseas, which would cut off Apple’s supply of the popular tablet to the rest of the world. Fortunately for Apple, the customs officials noted that such a ban on shipments would be “difficult to implement” due to the popularity of the iPad in China and the size of the Chinese market.
For Apple, the finding of the Hong Kong High Court from last July may be all the ammunition it needs to finally rid itself of the irritating Proview trademark suits.