Apple has been in an ongoing dispute with the bankrupt technology company Proview over who owns the trademark rights of the iPad name in China. Proview Technology claims that, although Apple went out of its way to make sure to properly secure the iPad name, a loophole in Chinese law lets the Hong Kong-based company retain ownership rights throughout most of China. After many accusations, threats and even an attempt to ban sales of the iPad in China, a few days ago Apple was rumored to be willing to discuss the possibility of settling out of court with Proview. Today, a Chinese government official has stated that Proview will likely win in the high courts against Apple.
Reuters has reported that a senior official with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) stated that Proview is the rightful owner of the trademark.
“According to the … provisions of the China Trademark Law, currently Shenzhen Proview is the legal registrant of the iPad trademark,” Fu Shuangjian, a deputy director of SAIC, was quoted as saying at a news conference in Beijing.
This is the first time a government official has made public comment on the matter and shows that the Chinese High Court may rule in favor of Proview. Fu said the commerce department will take the matter seriously.
Apple’s recent willingness to discuss a settlement may be another sign that things aren’t going as planned for the tech giant. Proview has stated that the company is willing to sell the trademark to Apple for $400 million. Until now, Apple has been firm that it already owns the trademark and would not back down from the fight. It looks like there is a chance that this will be Apple’s first retreat.