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Apple Wins Hong Kong Ruling, Aiding China IPad Trademark Fight

Apple Inc. can use some documents filed previously by Proview International Holdings Ltd. in the Hong Kong courts, aiding the iPad maker’s efforts in a trademark dispute over the tablet computer’s name in China.

Apple’s application to use four documents filed by Proview in a case that started in 2010 was granted by Master A. Ho in a hearing today. Ho rejected another application by Apple to use documents submitted in the future by Proview, saying he couldn’t issue such a “blanket” order.

A lawyer representing Apple said the company wants the documents as it prepares to appeal a November ruling by a Chinese court that Proview’s Shenzhen subsidiary owns the iPad trademark in the nation. Since that ruling by the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court, Proview asked China’s customs bureau to stop imports and exports of the iPad, and asked local retailers to stop selling the device.

The lawyer for Apple told the court that the documents sought by the Cupertino, California-based company contained details of correspondence between Proview officials. The lawyer wasn’t required to identify herself during the hearing and declined to give her name when approached by Bloomberg News.

Apple Appeal

Apple was represented by the law firm Baker & McKenzie at the hearing, according to Hong Kong court information. Proview wasn’t represented at today’s hearing.

Jamie Kar, a public relations manager at Baker & McKenzie in Hong Kong, referred questions about the lawyer to Apple. Carolyn Wu, a spokeswoman at Apple in Beijing, didn’t reply to telephone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

Apple started litigation against Proview over the iPad trademark in Hong Kong and China in 2010. In June 2011, a Hong Kong court granted Apple’s application for an injunction preventing Proview from selling the iPad trademark to others.

Apple said this week it acquired Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 countries, including China. Proview is refusing to honor an agreement with Apple in China, Apple said.

Roger Xie, a lawyer for Proview at the Grandall Law Firm in Shenzhen, didn’t respond to a phone call seeking comment. The Higher People’s Court of Guangdong will hear Apple’s appeal on Feb. 29.

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