A major creditor of Proview Technology, the Shenzhen-based electronics company that is challenging Apple over the iPad trademark, has moved to have the cash-strapped Chinese company liquidated, mainland media have reported.
However, Proview's lawyers yesterday downplayed suggestions that the action, by the Taiwan-based Fubon Insurance, would bring a halt to the high-profile case, currently being heard by a Guangdong court.
Fubon's lawyer, Chen Yi, was quoted by China National Radio as saying that the Taiwanese company had filed for Proview's liquidation, based on US$8.68 million in outstanding debts dating back to 2010.
Ma Dongxiao, lead lawyer for Proview, dismissed the significance of the liquidation request.
'This is just an application. We will need to see what judgment the court makes before we know exactly what effect it will have, but I see no reason to be concerned,' Ma said.
Lawyers at the Beijing Zhongyin Law Firm, reported to be handling Fubon's application, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
A spokeswoman for Fubon Insurance, part of the Fubon Financial Group, said: 'It is the company's position that we will not comment on any current or ongoing investigations, nor on the information shared regarding the judicial case.'
Last week Guangdong's Higher People's Court ordered Proview and Apple to attempt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in the case before it would hand down its final ruling.
Apple has been appealing against a ruling in December by a court in Shenzhen that rejected the US computing giant's four million yuan (HK$4.9 million) lawsuit against Proview for using the iPad name.
The court ruled that Proview held the mainland rights to the iPad trademark, based on an unrelated product with the same name that was first registered in Taiwan in 2000, and on the mainland the following year.
Apple claims it purchased the global rights to the trademark in 2009 from Proview's Taiwanese subsidiary, for GBP35,000 (HK$430,000). However, Proview's Shenzhen division has denied that the Taiwanese division had the right to sell the mainland rights.
Last month, a court in Shanghai declined to accept an injunction suit by Proview against Apple over the sale of iPads in Apple's own stores, stating it would wait for the decision of the Guangdong court.
However, prior to that Shanghai suit, a court in Huizhou, Guangdong province, allowed an injunction against a local reseller of Apple products, ordering iPads removed from shelves in stores in the city.
Proview has also taken the legal battle to the US, filing suit against Apple in the Superior Court of California on February 17.
Additional reporting by Lawrence Chung in Taipei
Worldwide sales of the Apple iPad tablet computer from its launch in April 2010 to the end of 2011