Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Proview International Holdings Limited (HKG:0334) are currently in talks to settle a dispute regarding the iPad trademark name. A lawyer of Proview said that the two parties were currently in talks to try to resolve the dispute.
According to Chinese law, these talks are strictly voluntary and not mandatory by the courts. However, it was the Chinese courts that did recommend that Proview and Apple try to solve this dispute outside the court room.
This disaster all started when Apple bought the rights to the iPad from Proview in 2009. However, Proview still says that its subsidiary, Shenzhen, still owns the actual rights to the iPad because representatives from the subsidiary were not at the contract signing.
Unfortunately, Proview has a number of lawsuits against Apple right now and it seems as though Proview is trying to block all sales and exporting of the iPad in China. Proview means business, recently they even filed suit in California against Apple for the iPad fiasco.
Here is a quick history of Proview’s iPad claims. Proview at one point was a manufacturer of a PC that was called Internet Personal Access Device (IPAD). However, since the recession they are essentially a dead company that only has the rights to the iPad name.
Apple is essentially being thrown under the bus. They had originally bought the rights to iPad name in 2009 and just because the “parent” company did not have a representative there now Apple may not be able to sell the iPad in China. This is actually a huge issue because there is so much at stake. Apple needs to be firm but realize that Chinese sales are on the line. As I said earlier, these talks are voluntary and any side could walk away at any point. Unfortunately, that would be the worst outcome for Apple because then the courts would have to settle the suit. Then it’s a 50-50 that Apple wins or gets screwed over.
iPad Mini was announced recently which should help Apple take market share from the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook. The iPad Mini would be a hit in China because it is a very cheap entry to get the Apple iPad. All in all, I am hoping that Apple can give Proview an attractive enough offer for them to simply drop the suit as the courts had suggest. If not, it’s up to the courts.