Proview Sues Apple in U.S. Over Alleged Deception in iPad Trademark Purchase
Reuters reports that the dispute over the iPad trademark in China has taken an interesting turn, with Proview Technology filing suit against Apple in the United States over alleged deception related to the deal between the two companies.
Apple set up a dummy corporation known as IP Application Development Ltd (IPAD) to conduct negotiations with Proview over the trademark back in 2009, and Proview's suit alleges that Apple's efforts to keep its identity secret amounted to fraud.
In its filing, Proview alleged lawyers for IPAD repeatedly said it would not be competing with the Chinese firm, and refused to say why they needed the trademark.
Those representations were made "with the intent to defraud and induce the plaintiffs to enter into the agreement," Proview said in the filing dated February 17, requesting an unspecified amount of damages.
The use of dummy corporations is not particularly unusual in business negotiations, with companies sometimes seeking to keep their identities secret as they work to acquire intellectual property and other assets in support of products under development. By keeping their identities secret, high-profile companies hope to avoid having their plans become public while also looking to strike more favorable deals with companies who think they are dealing with a small business rather than a deep-pocketed industry leader.
MacRumors discovered in the weeks leading up to the introduction of the original iPad in January 2010 that Apple had used a similar dummy corporation with a nearly identical name of IP Application Development LLC to register its own iPad trademarks.
Apple claims that its IPAD dummy corporation purchased the rights to the iPad trademark from Proview in ten countries back in December 2009. Proview has claimed that the transaction did not include the Chinese rights, and the two companies are currently facing off in a number of Chinese courts over the matter. A Hong Kong court ruled last year that Proview and several of its subsidiaries and associated companies had conspired to extort millions of dollars of Apple's by refusing to turn over the Chinese rights to the trademark, but Chinese courts have in several cases sided with Proview.