For the time being in Shanghai, Apple is allowed to sell iPad tablets, following a ruling regarding naming rights that was suspended. Another company, Proview, claimed to own rights to the name and has appealed to the courts to put a halt to Apple selling its wares in the city, Proview is a Chinese firm.
In response to Apple’s request, the local judicial authorities have postponed acting on the court ruling until after a more significant case has been dealt with later in the month. The claim Apple is making is that it received rights to the name iPad worldwide as far back as 2009. However, Proview has petitioned the court to force the iPad off of Shanghai shelves, not excluding Apple’s own stores. It is only a provisional request, but includes three Apple stores throughout the city. They claim to have registered the name in 2000, long before Apple manufactured their first iPad. Proview has even tried to scare Apple, by threatening to take it to court in the U.S. As well.
The battle is feverish in the courtroom. The judge gave warnings to lawyers from both sides of the battle as they pitched their tempers at each other. The ruling will only provide a brief respite.
There are two views to the struggle. The first sees a failing company, Proview, making one last strike to survive, by attacking the world’s most valuable tech company. The other sees Apple at fault for failing to fully investigate the naming rights in China and Taiwan. Apple is not giving in and this may give rise to large court costs.
The Taiwanese affiliate of Proview registered the name in many countries, then sold the worldwide rights to Apple. However, Proview argues its affiliate was not empowered with the right to sell the name for China. The temporary result is that the iPad by Apple has been removed from shelves in parts of China. Proview is making a move to prohibit either the import or export of iPad to and from China.
The news is even worse for Apple. They have already lost the same case against Proview in Shenzhen, Proview’s home city in the South. Apple will certainly appeal the ruling. The final decision on Shanghai will await the ruling on the appeal in Shenzhen.
The lawyer representing Apple, Qu Miao, argued that Proview lacks any business with the name iPad. “There are no sales, they have no customers, they have not obtained any stance in any market anywhere. They have nothing at all.” He also pointed out that Apple’s iPad contributes to job creation and tax revenues in China.
The lawyer for Proview, Xie Xianghui, rebutted that these issues were irrelevant to name rights. What you do with the name is not important for determining who has right to it. He is requesting the courts force Apple to cease sales of iPad in China. He argued that iPad could be sold under a different name and achieve the same economic benefits for China, regardless.
Apple officially stand firm on its purchase of the name in 10 countries worldwide. Although Proview refuses to acknowledge the sale, in Hong Kong the court sees it differently. Apple has won there.