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Official backs Proview on iPad

By Tang Yue (China Daily)

13:26, April 25, 2012

A man looks at his Apple iPad in front an Apple logo outside an Apple store in downtown Shanghai in this March 16, 2012 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

A top official threw weight behind Shenzhen-based Proview Technology in its dispute with Apple over the iPad trademark, but instructed law enforcement agencies to wait for the court's decision before taking action.

"According to Chinese law, both parties involved in the trademark transfer should apply with us together (to make the transfer legal). So Proview Technology is still the owner of the iPad trademark," said Fu Shuangjian, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, on Tuesday.

Fu's remarks about the trademark ownership have no legal power, however, because the administrative and judicial systems are independent from each other, said Feng Xiaoqing, an intellectual-property scholar with the China University of Political Science and Law.

"His words should have nothing to do with the final verdict," he said.

But if Apple failed to follow the required procedure on the Chinese mainland, as Proview alleges, Feng said, it will probably lose the case.

Authorities would be wise not to act until the court's verdict is announced, Feng said. "Otherwise, the commerce and industry authorities could get sued if the verdict supports Apple."

The Guangdong High People's Court in South China opened a public hearing between the Chinese company and the US tech giant on Feb 29, but no decision has been made yet.

The judge said a mediated settlement is the preferred solution to such a high-profile lawsuit. Xie Xianghui, the attorney for Shenzhen Proview, said the two parties have not reached an agreement on the amount of compensation.

If mediation fails, a ruling is likely to be handed down by the end of May, the court previously told China Daily.

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