Apple wins court order on 'iPad' trademark

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 July, 2011, 12:00am


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Apple took another step to securing its claim to the 'iPad' brand after the High Court ruled against the disposal of mainland trademarks to that name by a Hong Kong company, its subsidiaries and their Taiwanese founder.

Injunctions were granted to Apple and IP Application, a company it set up in 2009 to acquire trademarks to the iPad name, to restrain the Proview group of companies and Rowell Yang Long-san, pending resolution of their dispute.

Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor ruled yesterday there was 'a serious question to be tried' involving the defendants' alleged breach of a December 2009 deal to sell the trademarks to Apple and IP Application.

The group, led by Proview International Holdings, had agreed to sell its iPad trademarks in eight countries and territories, including two registered on the mainland, for GBP35,000 (HK$439,440).

While drawing up the agreement for that sale and the so-called country assignments, Apple and IP Application discovered the two mainland iPad trademarks were not owned by subsidiary Proview Electronics as they were led to believe, but by Proview Technology (Shenzhen).

That resulted in the China country assignment provided to IP Application being ineffective.

Apple said the defendants, while acknowledging the mistake made, refused to rectify the matter and asked Apple to pay US$10 million for the two trademarks.

Apple's lawyers later found that China Minsheng Bank had obtained a so-called asset preservation order against Proview Shenzhen.

Apple and IP began their action on May 20 last year.

Poon said it was important that Apple secured and obtained the mainland trademarks because it 'has launched and marketed its iPads worldwide, including in mainland China'.

'If the defendants are not restrained and are able to dispose of the China trademarks, [Apple] will suffer irreparable damage,' he said.

Apple is also embroiled in a lawsuit in the United States concerning the name of its new 'iCloud' service.