Fight Over iPad Name Spills Into U.S. Court

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By Ian Sherr and Spencer E. Ante

Proview Electronics Co. has taken its legal battles with Apple Inc. to a U.S. court, claiming the iPhone maker used deception in buying the iPad trademark and shouldn’t be allowed to keep it.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California in Santa Clara County on Feb. 17 but previously unreported, claimed that Apple had committed fraud when it used a company set up by one of its law firms, called IP Application Development Ltd., to purchase the iPad trademark from Proview on Dec. 23, 2009 for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000).

Proview, which included U.S.-based Proview Technology Inc. as a plaintiff in the case, said in its filing that by acquiring the iPad trademark through IP Application Development, and not explaining its true purpose, Apple acted “with oppression, fraud and/or malice.”

An Apple spokeswoman reiterated the company’s claim that it had rightfully purchased the iPad name from Proview, adding “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter.” A Proview spokesperson declined to comment.

Part of the reason for the case, people familiar with the matter said, was that during negotiations between the two companies, Apple hadn’t shared enough information about how it planned to acquire the trademark and who approved the purchase.

In emails seen by The Wall Street Journal, a representative purportedly of IP Application Development told Proview that it wanted to acquire the iPad name because it was an abbreviation of its company’s title, and that its future products wouldn’t compete with Proview’s products.


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(Published Feb 24, 2012, on The Wall Street Journal website.)