Apple's China legal scuffle over ‘iPad’ trademark spreads to US

In a move which marks the spread of the China ‘iPad’ trademark scuffle to the US, two Proview International Holdings’ units - Proview Electronics and Proview Technology – filed a lawsuit against Apple in Santa Clara County last week.

In the lawsuit filed in California, Proview Technology – which is already suing Apple in several jurisdictions in China, seeking a ban on the sales of the iPad across the country – has accused Apple of having deceptively acquired the iPad trademark for use in China.

According to the allegations leveled by Proview, Apple evidently created a "special purpose" entity – known as ‘IP Application Development Ltd., or IPAD - to buy the iPad trademark in 2009, without disclosing its own role in the proceedings.

Acknowledging the fact that Apple bought the European rights to the iPad name by paying $55,000 to Proview’s Europe-based parent firm, Proview – accusing Apple of trademark infringement, and seeking unspecified damages - has claimed that it still is the owner of the trademark in China; and has the right to the ‘iPad’ name as it has been selling an unrelated product, dubbed ‘I-PAD’, in China for years.

Further adding that Apple’s lawyers for its IPAD entity were notably insistent on the point that the product will not compete with Proview, the Chinese firm said in its filing in the US court that the representations had largely been made with “the intent to defraud and induce the plaintiffs to enter into the agreement.”