Ruling favours Apple in hearing over iPad name
Apple, fighting for the right to use the 'iPad' name on the mainland, won a Hong Kong court ruling yesterday, barring its legal adversary from introducing certain evidence in an upcoming trial in the city.
The maker of the hugely successful iPhone and iPad, is suing Proview International Holdings for refusing to give it the iPad trademark on the mainland. Apple says it bought those rights for GBP35,000 (HK$425,000) in December 2009, and that Proview has refused to relinquish them.
In a written judgment yesterday, High Court Master Justin Ko King-sau barred Proview from using certain expert evidence, relating to mainland and Taiwanese law, in the upcoming trial. That law applies to the powers of a legal representative to approve a contract for a company.
Lawyers for the technology giant told the court earlier that it had contracted to buy the mainland rights to the iPad brand from a subsidiary of Proview based in Taiwan, named Proview Electronics. It was discovered only after the deal was executed that the trademark was in fact registered in the name of a separate Proview subsidiary on the mainland.
Proview's officials allegedly saw this as an opportunity to make US$10 million on the sale of the trademark, and refused to carry out the contract terms. Instead, Proview asked that Apple pay US$10 million for the mainland trademark.
Proview has argued it did not know that its Taiwanese subsidiary's legal representative was going to sign an agreement with Apple. But a letter authorising the representative to sign such a deal was signed by Rowell Yang Long-san, the founder and a director of the Proview Group.
Ko ruled yesterday that much of the evidence Proview wanted to introduce was irrelevant or outside the scope allowed by the court. In the trial, Apple will ask the court to order Proview to relinquish the trademark and declare that Proview has been holding the trademark on trust for it.
Earlier this month, the Superior Court of California in Santa Ana county threw out a complaint filed by Proview Electronics based on the two firms' previous agreement to settle all their disputes in Hong Kong.
Proview Electronics took legal action in the US to void the 2009 deal that transferred its worldwide rights to the iPad trademark to Apple.
Meanwhile, Apple is waiting on a Guangdong court ruling on whether it or Proview has the rights to the iPad trademarks in the mainland.
The number of iPads sold in the March quarter
-200,000 apps made for iPad
-As of April, 67 million in total sold