Shanghai Court Rejects Apple iPad Injunction

A Shanghai court rejected a request by Proview Technology to stop Apple (AAPL) from selling iPads in the city. The decision puts an end to Proview’s demand that retailers stop selling iPads until their trademark dispute with Apple is resolved.

The Pudong District People’s Court said it would not rule while a related trademark case between the two companies proceeds through an appeals process in Guangdong. The case is still under the second instance trial in a Guangzhou higher court. A hearing is scheduled in that major port city next Wednesday.

Apple and Proview have come to loggerheads over the trademark for the word “iPad.” Apple claims one of its subsidiaries obtained the rights to the name from the Taiwan-based Proview a number of years ago, long before the iPad was introduced. However, Proview maintains that its mainland subsidiary in Shenzhen in Guangdong province retained rights to the trademark in mainland China, as Proview originally used the “iPad” name all the way back in 1998. Therefore, Proview claimed that Apple’s use of the name “iPad” in mainland China would be trademark infringement.

The lawsuit in Guangdong will decide whether the trademark should be exclusively used by Proview, while the case in Shanghai will decide whether the distributors of Apple products have the right to use it. “If the Guangdong court rules that Apple has no right to use the iPad name, then it may exert some influence on the Shanghai court,” commented Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu, a law firm with strong IP practice in China.

Proview has had some success getting iPad sales blocked in some smaller Chinese cities; however, the Shanghai case was widely viewed as Proview’s first major threat to Apple’s iPad business in China. If Proview could get iPad sales shut down in Shanghai, it would represent a major disruption to Apple’s Chinese business.

Published by admin on February 27th, 2012 tagged China News

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