Proview Says Talks With Apple Over IPad Trademark Stalled

Proview International Holdings Ltd.’s Shenzhen unit said talks to arrange settlement negotiations with Apple Inc. regarding the rights to the iPad name in China have stalled.

The talks between the failed Hong Kong-listed display maker and the world’s most-valuable company were disclosed by Proview International Chairwoman Sun Min at the High Court in Hong Kong today. The last face-to-face meeting with Apple was on Feb. 16, Proview founder Rowell Yang said when asked about the talks.

Apple on Feb. 29 appealed a November ruling by a lower court that its 2009 contract to buy rights to the iPad name in China was invalid because Proview’s Shenzhen unit, which owned them, wasn’t a party to the agreement. The unit’s lawyer, Roger Xie, said the Guangdong appeal court, which is due to rule within three months, tried to organize mediation.

“There is some gap between Apple and Proview,” Yang said in a phone interview from Shenzhen today. “We are waiting for their offer. If the offer is fair, a settlement is good for both parties.”

Today’s pre-trial hearing in Hong Kong was part of the Cupertino, California-based company’s lawsuit against Yang and his companies for conspiring to breach the 2009 sale agreement.

A Hong Kong judge ruled in July “there is clearly a serious question to be tried for the claim of conspiracy.” The Hong Kong case is parallel to the Guangdong proceedings.

Proview sold the rights to Apple and is misleading Chinese courts and customers, Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, said today.

“We respect Chinese laws and regulations, and as a company that generates a lot of intellectual property we would never knowingly abuse someone else’s trademarks,” Wu said.

She declined to comment on whether the two sides have held settlement talks.

Xie said Proview International is willing to hold them.

“We are trying to contact Apple and set up a formal negotiation,” Xie said. “We haven’t started any formal negotiation as of now.”

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