Bloomberg News

Apple Asks Hong Kong Court to Continue Proview IPad Case

March 14, 2012

Apple Inc. (AAPL), fighting over the rights to the iPad name in China, asked a Hong Kong court to continue a parallel case against Proview International Holdings Ltd. (334), which says it owns the trademark.

“Their application was about testimony they wanted to exclude,” Sun Min, a director of Proview International, said after a pre-trial hearing in the High Court today. Sun didn’t comment on the content of the testimony after telling the court that Proview, a failed Hong Kong-listed display maker, opposes Apple’s request.

Apple is awaiting a ruling by a court in Guangdong province, China, on whether it or Proview owns the rights to the iPad trademarks in the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The Cupertino, California-based company also filed a lawsuit in Hong Kong against Proview founder Rowell Yang and his companies for conspiring to breach their sale agreement.

Apple’s lawyer, who didn’t identify herself in court, urged Hong Kong High Court master Reuden Lai to ensure that the case proceeds to trial on schedule. After the hearing, she declined to identify herself or elaborate on the pre-trial application.

Proview International doesn’t have a lawyer for the Hong Kong proceedings, Sun told the court today.

Guangdong Appeal

A Hong Kong court in July issued an order preventing Proview from selling the trademarks.

The world’s most-valuable technology company started litigation in 2010 against Proview, the same year it introduced the iPad tablet. It lost the case last year in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where a court ruled that Apple hadn’t properly acquired the trademarks because the Proview entity that owned them wasn’t involved in the sale agreement.

On Feb. 29, the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong heard Apple’s appeal. A ruling is expected within three months.

Proview has asked China customs authorities to block imports and exports of the tablet computer. Roger Xie, Proview’s lawyer, has said Proview also filed requests to retailers to halt iPad sales.

Proview’s Shenzhen factory is being dismantled after creditor banks took over the company’s assets and could sell them, Yang said March 5. The plant was shuttered in November 2010 after Proview Shenzhen missed payments to suppliers and banks.

Apple will sell the newest version of its iPad, featuring a higher-resolution display and a faster processor, beginning March 16. The product is the second-biggest revenue contributor for the company.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net; Debra Mao in Hong Kong at dmao5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net


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