China iPad Trademark Holder Seeks $1.6 Billion from Apple

Chinese company Proview Technology is suing Apple for CNY10 billion—that’s ten billion Chinese Yuan, or US$1.57 billion—for trademark infringement for the company’s Chinese trademark on “IPAD.” The news comes in the wake of a court case Apple lost over the trademark earlier this week when the Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Proview’s trademark was legal.

Apple in China

New details of the case have emerged since coverage of the verdict itself. For one thing, there’s the basis for why Apple thought it could sue its way into a trademark registered more then ten years ago in China. According to documents released by the court, Apple originally bought what it thought was the worldwide trademark from Proview’s parent company, Proview International Holdings, but failed to file the necessary paperwork to transfer the rights in China itself.

The suit filed in the Intermediate People’s Court in Shenzen was an effort by Apple to have those rights acknowledged as part of the original deal. The court was having none of it, however, and ruled that as the buyer of the trademark, Apple bore “a higher duty of care” to make sure that the “necessary procedures for the transfer of a trademark” were completed (see the awkwardly worded Google Translate version of the court’s announcement for more information).

All of which means that Proview Technology of Shenzen found itself in possession of the trademark for “IPAD” that its parent company had already sold once to Apple. Accordingly, the company is now trying to leverage Apple’s bureaucratic embarrassment to extort additional money to the tune of $1.6 billion.

According to DMWMedia, Apple can appeal the case, while Proview Technology is busily suing Apple resellers for selling iPads in the city of Shenzhen. The law firm representing Proview said it will sue other Apple resellers should it be successful doing so with its test cases in the city. There’s no word on whether the company also intends to sue makers of counterfeit iPads and the fake Apple Stores that sell them.