Amid the kerfuffle, Proview seems to be extending a small olive branch to Apple; Proview lawyer Xie Xianghui was indicated that no final decisions have been reached in the legal process, so both sides were “still able to sit together and reach an out-of-court settlement."
Apple doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to settle for the moment; with their win in Hong Kong last year and appeals still left in the mainland Chinese court system, Apple may feel that it’s greater amount of cash on hand gives it an advantage as the legal battle wears on. Apple also appears to be suffering a bit of Steve-Jobs-style righteous indignation, since it clearly believed it bought the name legally for China (and the rest of the world) in 2009.
Apple has also begun to demand that Proview provide evidence that they even produce and market a product called the IPAD in China, accusing the cash-strapped Chinese firm of being unable to field the product for which the trademark is supposed to cover.
It’s unclear though how much these arguments will help Apple in the end – the Chinese courts don’t always use the same measurements of trademark validity (e.g. if the trademark is actively being used) that Western courts apply. Likewise, their victory in Hong Kong may ultimately prove meaningless, as the Hong Kong legal system is separate from that of the Chinese mainland, and rulings of the Hong Kong courts have little legal status in the mainland courts.
Ultimately, if the Chinese courts rule that the Taiwanese subsidiary didn’t have the rights under mainland Chinese law to sell the Chinese rights to the IPAD, Apple will lose, even though they acted in good faith in their negotiations in 2009. If that happens, Apple will have to open up its vast checkbook at cut a deal to get itself out of this predicament, regardless of how unfair they might view such a solution.
Or else rebrand their tablet the Apple iSlate in the Chinese market. Have another idea for a Chinese iPad rebranding? Share your lighthearted responses with us in the comments section!
source: AP via The Register