Apple’s fight with Chinese company Proview over the iPad name has landed on U.S. soil. Proview filed a lawsuit in a California district court against Apple’s use of the trademark, according to Reuters.
It’s the latest development in the ongoing legal skirmish between Apple and Proview, a computer monitor manufacturer.
Earlier this week, a Shanghai court rejected Proview’s request for a temporary injunction which would have frozen the sale of the iPad in the city. It also accepted Apple’s request to suspend proceedings until a related appeal is decided by a court in the southern province of Guangdong.
At issue is who owns the rights to the iPad name, which Proview has been using in China since 1998. Apple bought the rights to the brand from Proview in 2009, but the Chinese company claims that only applies to Taiwan, not mainland China. a court ruled in Proview’s favor in December, and that reportedly led to the seizure of iPads from stores in cities throughout China.
Apple has also threatened to sue Proview for making misleading statements to the press that could damage Cupertino’s reputation in China.
Apple did not immediately respond to questions about the latest development, but reps have continually reiterated the company’s stance that it bought the rights to the iPad name several years ago.
The Mac maker won a case in Hong Kong, but lower courts in China have ruled in Proview’s favor. Proview has indicated that it’s open to settling, but the litigation is likely far from over.
Apple has repeatedly asserted that it sees China as key territory. It’s the fastest-growing market for the iPhone, and CEO Tim Cook recently said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference that the company is only scratching the surface in China. Reuters noted that Apple has 76 percent of the tablet PC space in the country.
Another challenge Apple faces in the case is that intellectual property laws are very different in China than they are in the U.S., meaning results from these lawsuits could differ and pose a threat to iPad shipments.
The iPad name fight comes as Apple is also fielding concerns over working conditions at factories owned by suppliers like Foxconn. To that end, ABC’s Nightline aired a special this week that went inside Foxconn’s Chengdu plant, where Apple has instructed a labor group to conduct a thorough audit.
For more, see PCMag’s full review of the iPad 2 and the slideshow below.
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