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Proview offers Apple peace talks amid Shanghai iPad ban bid

Tech titan faces tablet knockout in dozens of China's cities

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In a predictable move, Asian monitor minnow Proview has decided that it is in fact now ready to hold talks with Apple over the IPAD trademark dispute which threatens to throttle global supplies of Cupertino’s shiny fondleslab.

As Shanghai's Pudong district court prepares to decide whether to accede to Proview’s request and halt iPad sales in the city – home to three of Apple’s five official stores in China – the ailing monitor biz has offered hope of a peace agreement, according to Associated Press.

Xie Xianghui told the newswire that as no final decision has been reached in the dispute, the two are "still able to sit together and reach an out-of-court settlement”.

Apple argues that it bought the trademark rights from Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate years ago for the princely sum of £35,000, however Proview insists that it is its Shenzhen company that owns the specific rights applicable to China.

A Hong Kong judge has already sided with Apple and raised concerns about Proview’s strategy, which appears to be aimed at extracting as much money as possible from the shiny toy manufacturer.

Commentators have speculated, not unreasonably, that the money is being sought by CEO Yang Rongshan to prop up his failing firm, which was declared bankrupt in 2010 and is likely to be kicked off the Hong Kong Stock Exchange soon.

However, the truth is that since a Shenzhen court ruled in Proview’s favour last December, Apple has been on the back foot in China and could even face the terrifying situation of an export ban on its shiny tablets, which would completely halt global supply lines.

Proview has since filed for a ban on the sale of iPads in scores of Chinese cities and apparently had some success in a couple of them so far, but Shanghai would be its biggest scalp yet and a big blow for Apple.

Cupertino hopes the Guangdong High Court will see sense when it decides on Apple’s appeal against the original December 2011 decision next week. If that goes tits up then iPhone supremo Tim Cook might need to order a bigger chequebook. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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