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Proview parks IPAD battle tanks on Apple's US lawn

iPad maker sued in California, accused of treachery

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Asian monitor biz Proview has taken its legal scrap with Apple to the US - and alleged that it was hoodwinked when it sold its IPAD trademark to the fruity tech titan in 2009.

In a lawsuit filed last week in Santa Clara County, Taiwan-based Proview Electronics and Shenzen entity Proview Technology claimed that Apple deliberately created “special purpose” company IP Application Development (IPAD) to undertake negotiations over the trademark with the monitor firm, according to Reuters.

Lawyers representing IP Application Development reportedly insisted they would not compete with Proview, but would not say why they needed the trademark. The filing claimed therefore that they acted “with the intent to defraud and induce the plaintiffs to enter into the agreement”.

Apple - which began churning out iPad tablets in April 2010 - responded to a request for comment with the canned statement it has bandied about for some time now:

We bought Proview's worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter. Our case is still pending in mainland China.

The news comes as Proview’s chances of squeezing a big settlement from Apple continue to dwindle: earlier this week a Pudong court in Shanghai refused to uphold Proview's call for a sales ban on iPads in the city.

Proview had being doing pretty well up until then by getting authorities in cities in several provinces to accede to its sales ban request, for example in Shijiazhuan and Xuzhou.

All eyes will now be on Guandong High Court on 29 February when Apple’s appeal against the Shenzhen court ruling in December 2011 in Proview’s favour will be considered.

The failed monitor biz has come in for a fair amount of stick in its dealings so far, with a Hong Kong judge ruling in Apple’s favour in 2010 and claiming that the firm’s CEO Yang Rongshan is only out to extract the maximum amount of cash from Apple to prop up the bankrupt company.

This week it emerged that some of the creditors of Proview’s Shenzhen subsidiary, which Yang claims holds the rights to the IPAD trademark, include financial services giants Bank of China. and China Minsheng Banking, who will both no doubt be keen to reach an agreeable financial settlement. ®

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