Chinese official backs Proview in Apple dispute
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.
- 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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0707 GMT (1507 HKT)
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT)
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.