Banks driving Chinese firm's iPad claims, lawyer says
By Bill Smith Feb 24, 2012, 11:06 GMT
Beijing - Eight banks are pushing an ailing Chinese electronics firm's court action against Apple over the disputed ownership of the iPad trademark in China, a lawyer said on Friday.
'Proview Shenzhen has to listen to the banks because the banks seized all the property, including the trademark,' Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview Technology (Shenzhen), told dpa.
The popular Sina.com website said Proview Technology (Shenzhen) owed a total of about 380 million yuan (60 million dollars) to eight Chinese banks, including the Bank of China and the Minsheng Bank.
'Nothing is left of the company except the trademark,' the website quoted an unnamed Proview Technology spokesman as saying.
A court in Shanghai this week failed to support Proview's petition to ban Apple from selling the iPad in China.
In another development, Proview Electronics, a separate company owned by Proview International Holdings, last week filed a lawsuit in California accusing Apple of deception during its purchase of the iPad trademark.
A statement in December to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by Proview International Holdings, whose shares have been suspended from trading since August 2010, said Proview Technology (Shenzhen) was its 'wholly owned subsidiary.'
But Ma Dongxiao, a second lawyer representing Proview Technology, earlier this week claimed the Shenzhen firm was a 'different company' with no direct relationship to Proview International Holdings.
Xie and Ma on Friday both said they had no direct knowledge of the US lawsuit by Proview Electronics.
'If it is called (Proview) Electronics, it should be the Taiwan company,' Xie said. 'The Shenzhen company definitely did not sue Apple in America.'
Ma said earlier that Proview Technology planned to continue legal action in China until it had negotiated a settlement with Apple.
He said the main aim of Proview Technology's recent string of lawsuits was to 'safeguard its legal rights' and that the company 'reserves the right to ask for compensation' from Apple.
Proview Technology was preparing for an appeal hearing over the iPad trademark in the southern city of Guangzhou next week, Ma said.
Several online retailers and electronics stores have already suspended sales of iPads after earlier rulings in favour of Proview by courts in the southern province of Guangdong, where the Chinese company is based.
State media said local government business regulators in about 20 cities and provinces were seizing iPads to prevent their sales at electronics stores and markets.
Proview said it registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, but the state-run newspaper China Daily earlier said Proview Technology (Taiwan) sold the international rights to the trademark to a British firm in 2009.
The British firm reportedly resold the trademark to Apple, which launched the iPad in 2010, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) insisted that it still held the trademark in China.
Apple accused Proview of reneging on an agreement to transfer the trademark.
'We bought Proview's worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,' Apple said in a statement last week.
'Proview refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,' it said.
Read more about Apple