Skip to main content

Chinese official backs Proview in Apple dispute

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
April 25, 2012 -- Updated 0857 GMT (1657 HKT)
Taiwanese-owned Proview insists it did not sell the rights to the iPad name to Apple in China.
Taiwanese-owned Proview insists it did not sell the rights to the iPad name to Apple in China.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Proview Technology Shenzhen claims it trademarked the IPAD name in China in 2000
  • Apple says it bought the name from the firm in 10 different countries in 2009
  • A Chinese judge in February advised both parties to settle the dispute out of court
  • Apple announced it had doubled its profits in the last quarter, thanks mainly to China sales

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A senior Chinese official has sided with a company battling with Apple over the right to use the iPad name in China's lucrative market.

Proview Technology Shenzhen claims it trademarked the name in China in 2000 -- 10 years before Apple's iPad hit global stores. But the U.S. technology giant says it bought the name from the struggling Asian electronics firm in 10 different countries in 2009.

Proview insists it did not sell the rights to the name in China.

After seeing its claim against the Taiwanese-owned company falter in a Chinese court last year, Apple faced a lawsuit filed by Proview at the Higher People's Court in Guangzhou in February. The court did not issue a ruling but asked both parties to consider settling out of court.

Will Apple's 'iPad' go bad in China?

If no agreement can be reached, a ruling is likely to be handed down by the end of May, the court told state-run China Daily.

Smartphone patent wars
Apple denies price fixing allegations
Rare look inside Foxconn factory campus

But on Tuesday, a senior official with China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) -- the body that handles intellectual property infringements -- said Proview is the lawful owner of the trademark and any transfer of ownership would have to be approved by the relevant authorities.

iPhone, IPad drives Apple profit surge

"According to the above-mentioned stipulations, Proview (Shenzhen) is still the legal registrant of the iPad trademark," said Fu Shuangjian, deputy director general of the SAIC, in quotes carried by Xinhua.

This is the first time Chinese officials have commented on the case, and analysts suggest this may have a bearing on the final court ruling.

Stores in Huizhou and Shijiazhuang were ordered to stop sales of iPads by local authorities earlier this year after a lower court in Shenzhen ruled against Apple. Proview has also filed lawsuits in Shanghai, Hong Kong and in California to block Apple from using the iPad name -- a potentially disastrous scenario for the U.S. company.

On Wednesday, Apple announced it had doubled its profits in the last quarter, thanks to burgeoning sales of its iPhone and IPad in China. Net profit came in at $11.6 billion for the first three months of 2012, up from $6 billion in the same period last year. Both products are made in China.

In contrast, Proview, which makes computer monitors and other electronic products, is financially stricken and fighting liquidation requests from creditors.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 0125 GMT (0925 HKT)
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism that it stifles democracy.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
ADVERTISEMENT