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Lawyers try to seize Chinese IPAD trademark

Proview's unpaid lawyers try to grab name to force payment

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Apple may be waiting some time yet before it gets the rights to use the IPAD name in China after reports from the region suggested that lawyers of its court room opponent Proview are requesting temporary seizure of the trademark until they are paid.

A report on technology news portal Sina Tech (via Marbridge Daily) claimed that Grandall Law Firm has submitted an “asset protection application” to Shenzhen’s Yantian District People’s court.

The attempt to seize the IPAD trademark is the latest attempt by Grandall to turn the heat up on its former client, which it believes is trying to duck out of payment to the tune of $2.4 million (£1.6m).

News emerged a few days ago that Grandall had already sued failed monitor vendor Proview Technology after claiming that repeated requests for payment went unanswered.

Proview founder Yang Rongshan hit back, however, claiming that the bankrupt firm is currently not operating as a normal company and should therefore not be bound to pay Grandall its four per cent fee immediately.

Proview Technology, headquartered in Shenzhen, was shuttered a couple of years ago and now owes its creditors – including state-run financial services behemoth Bank of China – as much as $400m (£255m), according to some estimates.

It’s likely that Proview will have to divide the $60m (£38m) it managed to extract from Apple for rights to use the IPAD trademark in China between these creditors.

Dan Harris, a partner at Seattle-based Harris & Moure specialising in Chinese law, told The Reg that Grandall’s latest tactic made sense if the reports are accurate.

“Assigning a trademark can take time in China and I'm guessing that has yet to occur,” he added. “Grandall probably felt it needed to seize that trademark now, before ownership transferred to Apple. ®

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