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Apple Accosted in U.S. Court Over “iPad” by Proview
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For those who are not aware, Proview Electronics Co. which includes U.S. based Proview Technology, is an Asian computer display manufacturer. It was a growing company when it had obtained the “iPad” trademark in several countries in 2000 for its internet appliance named the “iPAD”. Proview has claimed that its product had been developed with the help of Motorola and others, but the company faced financial crises after its two top customers, Polaroid Corp. and Circuit City went bankrupt.

Proview claims that Apple had acted with “oppression, fraud and/or malice,” as it acquired the “iPad” trademark from Proview through another company called IP Application Development Ltd., specifically set up by one of Apple’s law firms to purchase the trade name. According to Proview’s complaint a representative of IP Application Development Ltd. approached Proview and requested to by the trade-name as it represented the acronym of the name of their company. Proview assented at a meager amount of $55,000 because the purchaser assured that its future products wouldn’t compete with Proview’s products.

  
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Now that was easy to do, since IP Application Development Ltd. was created seemingly with the sole purpose of acquiring the trade name for Apple, the question of that company ever producing any product at all did not enter the equation.

Proview’s lawsuit in the U.S. comes after filing similar suits in Hong Kong and Mainland China. A court in Shanghai refused to grant an injunction to stop the sale of Apple’s iPad in China subject to the decision of another proceedings pending in a court at China’s southern Guangdong province. The Guangdong Provincial High Court will hear the appeal either this week or on the next.

People knowledgeable about the dispute are of the opinion that Apple had gone against standard industrial practices by not sharing enough information on its plan of acquisition and use of the trademark to the original owner.

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The owner of the trademark could have acted on good faith and the designing of the name of the sockpuppet company seems to have been made with the clear intention of earning the sympathy of the owner of the “iPad” trademark and mislead the owner as to the actual intentions of the purchaser.

Under such cases, property law has ample evidence of successful suits brought for inadequate consideration spanning a legal history of hundreds of years of common law and jurisprudence.





 

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