Proview Sues Apple in California as IPad Trademark Fight Moves to U.S.

Proview International Holdings Ltd. (334), seeking to block shipments of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad tablet computer in and out of China, separately asked a court in California to stop the U.S. company from using IPAD trademarks.

A December 2009 agreement in which a Proview unit agreed to sell IPAD trademarks to Apple’s IP Application Development Ltd. should be canceled, Proview said in a Feb. 17 filing to the California Superior Court in Santa Clara. IP Application made “false” statements to Proview in correspondence before the agreement, the filing said.

Apple acquired Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 countries, including China, the Cupertino, California-based company said Feb. 14. Proview is refusing to honor an agreement with Apple in China, Apple said. Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman at Apple, declined to comment on Proview’s U.S. lawsuit beyond the statement last week.

Graham Robinson, an agent for IP Application, used the name Jonathan Hargreaves in correspondence with Proview before the Dec. 23, 2009 agreement to acquire all of Proview’s IPAD-related trademarks for 35,000 pounds ($55,267), the court filing said.

“This statement was false and untrue,” according to the filing. Proview is seeking unspecified damages from Apple, according to the document.

Proview applied to China’s Customs Bureau to block exports as well as imports of the iPad tablet computer, Roger Xie, a lawyer for Proview, said last week.

A court in Shanghai’s Pudong district yesterday rejected Proview’s application for an injunction against sales of the iPad tablet in the city, Xie said yesterday.

The iPad tablet was introduced by Apple in 2010 and is now the second-biggest revenue generator for the company, the world’s biggest by market capitalization.

Proview shares have been suspended from trading in Hong Kong since Aug. 2, 2010, and reported a HK$2.91 billion ($375 million) loss in 2009. The company last published its results in March 2010.

The case is Proview Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc. and IP Application Development, 12-cv-219219, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net; Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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