Xie Xianghui, the lawyer representing Shenzhen Proview Technology in China, said that the Intermediate People’s Court in Huizhou (a city in the southern China province of Guangdong) ruled on Friday that distributors should stop selling Apple's iPad devices in the region. The company is in a bitter dispute with Apple in China because it owns the rights to the "iPad" trademark there. Under Chinese law, the company has the power to stop imports and exports of the product.
For its part, Apple claims that it paid a subsidiary of the company a large sum of money to use the rights in China, and that Shenzhen Proview Technology is not honoring its agreement with Apple. Some are saying that the company is using regional courts and governments to slow Apple sales in the country as a pretense to get a settlement from the company. Xianghui said last week that they have not approached Apple about any kind of settlement.
Apple said in a statement on Monday that it has an appeal pending to Guangdong’s High Court against an earlier ruling in Proview’s favor. It continues to insist that it has an agreement with a Taiwanese subsidiary of the company to use the iPad trademark in China.
“We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,” said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.
Apple's legal team in China, the Beijing office of the law firm King & Wood, sent a letter to Proview’s chairman Rowell Yang accusing the company of breaching "principles of good faith and fair dealing" and of making "false and misleading" statements.
Proview International’s shares have been suspended from trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since August of 2010 and the company is reportedly in serious debt. It will be delisted completely from the exchange in June if it cannot show that it has sufficient assets and a certain market value.
Many see its activities against Apple as a means for the company to extract a large cash settlement to deal with all of its financial problems. Meanwhile, Proview has filed a trademark-violation lawsuit against Apple that goes to court Wednesday in Shanghai.
While Proview has had some success in getting the iPad off store shelves in some regions, the effort to have that happen on a national level has not occurred yet.