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Judge: Mediated choice preferred over iPad

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

09:17, April 20, 2012

A mediated settlement is the preferred solution to a high-profile lawsuit between tech giant Apple and a Chinese company over the iPad trademark, said the judge presiding over the case.

As a court decision will heavily affect the industry and the company's market shares, conciliation between the two sides is the best outcome, Qiu Yongqing, a judge with the Guangdong High People's Court, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

If no agreement is reached through court mediation, a ruling is likely to be handed down by the end of May, Lin Jinbiao, a publicity officer of the court, told China Daily on Thursday.

The court opened a public hearing between Shenzhen Proview Technology and Apple on Feb 29, with both sides claiming they own the iPad trademark on the Chinese mainland.

During the hearing, attorneys from both parties focused on whether Taiwan-based Proview Electronics had the right to represent Shenzhen-based Proview Technology during the sale of the iPad trademark.

Attorneys for Shenzhen Proview said the two are independent companies and the contract signed between Taiwan Proview and Apple for the iPad trademark transfer on the mainland was invalid.

Attorneys for Apple, however, said Taiwan Proview was linked with Shenzhen Proview and that Apple has the right to use the iPad trademark on the mainland.

Apple and IP Application Development paid $56,000 to Taiwan Proview for the iPad trademark transfer in 2009.

But Shenzhen Proview, which has registered and used the iPad trademark for more than a decade on the Chinese mainland, refused to recognize the contract signed by Apple and Taiwan Proview.

Taiwan Proview registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000, with Shenzhen Proview registering the trademark on the mainland a year later.

Both attorneys said they were confident of winning the lawsuit after the hearing.

If the court finds that Apple has infringed on the trademark rights of Shenzhen Proview, its wildly popular iPad tablet computers will be banned from sale on the Chinese mainland.

Xie Xianghui, the attorney for Shenzhen Proview, told China Daily on Thursday that the court has contacted Shenzhen Proview for mediation, and the company will negotiate with Apple for compensation.

He refused to disclose the amount of compensation Shenzhen Proview is asking for from Apple.

"Even if no agreement could be reached, I'm confident of winning the case as we have plenty of evidence to prove Apple infringed our trademark on the Chinese mainland," Xie said.

Yuna Huang, a spokeswoman for Apple China, would not comment on the case on Thursday.

Xu Chunjian, vice-president of the Guangdong High People's Court, told the news conference on Tuesday that courts across the province handled more than 16,000 intellectual property rights cases last year, up from about 10,000 in 2010.

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