In 2006, Apple purchased the iPad trademark from display manufacturer Proview Electronics (Taiwan) for $55,000 by way of a front company called IP Application Development. However, the company claims that the deal did not include the rights to the trademark in China, as those were owned by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), a subsidiary of Proview International in Hong Kong.
After threatening legal action, the company sued Apple in China last year on allegations of trademark infringement. Proview is seeking a total of 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in damages.
Apple countersued, arguing that it was the rightful owner of the trademark, but a Chinese court ruled last December in favor of Proview. The iPad maker has since appealed the decision.
According to the Global Times, Proview Shenzhen's lawyer Xie Xianghui said a court in the Xicheng district of Beijing was ready to "slap Apple with a 240 million yuan ($38 million) fine," but the ruling has been delayed due to Apple's appeal.
The Xicheng district administration denied Xie's claims of an impending 240 million yuan ruling. "It is still under investigation, so no official comments on the case can be made yet," a media officer at the publicity office of the administration told the publication.
Proview isn't just looking for money, though. Xie told the China Daily that the company wants Apple to say sorry. "We ask the court to stop selling and marketing for Apple’s iPad in China. We also demand an apology,” Xie said.
The lawyer also revealed that the company has filed separate lawsuits against Apple's authorized retailers and stores in local courts. One such suit will be heard in a court in the Pudong district of Shanghai later this month.
Xiao Caiyuan, another lawyer representing Proview, believes Apple will likely lose its appeal again. "We have prepared well for a long-term legal battle," Xiao said. However, some reports have suggested that Proview is strapped for cash and is looking to pay off some of its debts with money from the lawsuits.
Apple doesn't specifically break out iPad sales figures in China, but the company sold 15.43 million units worldwide last quarter.
[ View article on AppleInsider ]