Proview Electronics, the Chinese display manufacturer that claims it owns the rights to the iPad brand, extended its suit against Apple into the U.S., alleging that Cupertino. Calif.-based Apple was dishonest about its intended use for the iPad name.
According to a report Friday from The Wall Street Journal, Proview filed a complaint with the Superior Court of the State of California in Santa Clara County on Feb. 17, accusing Apple of committing fraud when it purchased the iPad trademark from Proview in 2009 because it sealed the deal through IP Application Development, a subsidiary established by one of Apple's law firms.
Sources told the Journal that Proview is pursuing the case in the U.S. because during negotiations for the trademark an IP Application Development representative told Proview that it had no intention of using the name for any future products that would compete with Proview. Instead, the company allegedly said, it wanted to use the iPad trademark as an abbreviation for the subsidiary’s name.
Proview said in its filing that by acquiring rights to the iPad name through IP Application Development, Apple acted "with oppression, fraud and/or malice."
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The trademark battle between the two companies has been heating up in Proview’s home turf of China for months. The Shenzhen-based LCD display manufacturer said it registered the iPad trademark in China in 2000, and that Apple bought the rights to the name from a Proview affiliate, Proview Taipei, in 2009. Proview alleges that Apple’s rights to the name applied to 10 countries around the world, but that mainland China was not one of them.
In December, a Chinese court rejected Apple’s claim to the name in China and awarded Proview continued ownership in the country. Apple appealed the ruling and claims Proview is simply refusing to honor their agreement.
Apple was a awarded a temporary win in the ongoing case this week when a Shanghai court rejected Proview’s request to ban iPad sales in the Chinese city. The court granted Apple’s request to suspend the case, pending a ruling in a higher court.