WSJ Uncovers Evidence in Apple and Proview’s iPad Trademark Dispute

iPad in ChinaRecently, we’ve been hearing a lot about Apple’s dispute with Chinese company Proview Technologies, who claims to have rights to the iPad name. iPads have been seized, and Chinese resellers, even as big as Amazon.com, have quit stocking Apple’s iPad 2, after Proview filed requests with Chinese customs authorities.

According to Apple, it legitimately purchased the iPad trademark in 10 different countries from a Proview affiliate several years ago, and Proview is refusing to honor that agreement. Apple cites its July lawsuit with Proview in Hong Kong, where the court did indeed side with Apple, and for good reason, as evidenced by supporting documents released today by the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD.

In the documents, an email from a representative of Proview Technology (not the affiliate that Apple purchased the rights from) reveals that Proview Technology was associated with and aware of Apple’s accepted offer:

“Dear Jonathan:

My boss agrees to accept your offer of £35,000 and your company should be responsible for all cost of transferring the registration. So please send me the contract and I will review it.

Best regards!”

This document, and its sister emails, generally invalidate Proview Technology’s claim that its Proview Electronics affiliate did not have the right to sell the Chinese iPad trademark to Apple because it was owned by Proview Technology.

In another of these emails, the representative clearly explains that the trademark belongs to the Taiwan company Proview Electronics (NOT Proview Technologies in Shenzhen, China as the company now claims), and thus, the meeting will be in Taiwan. The representative also mentions that Apple’s check was accepted.

Furthermore, there is a copy of the countries that Apple purchased the trademark for, including South Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and, most importantly, China. There is also a copy of the exact contract that Proview Electronics (affiliated with Proview Technologies) ended up signing with Apple to transfer the trademark.

All in all, it’s clear evidence that Apple did legitimately purchase the trademark, and that Proview Technology was well aware of the transaction going on with its Proview Electronics affiliate. The now-struggling company is backpeddling and attempting to squeeze more money out of Apple after realizing that it sold a valuable trademark for a pittance.

To read more of the evidence that the WSJ has recovered, head on over to the AllThingsD website, where you can see all of the scanned images of the contracts and emails.

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About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • C. Frangos

    Good article. But the word you’re looking for is “backpedaling,” not “backpeddling.”