Apple’s iPad trademark tactics in China ‘unusual,’ say experts

“Proview Electronics, the firm trying to stop Apple Inc from using the iPad name in China, has a plausible claim over the unusual methods Apple used to conceal its identity when attempting to acquire Proview’s trademarks, according to several legal experts,” Dan Levine reports for Reuters.
“But Apple also has some strong defenses against a lawsuit Proview filed last week in California – including the argument that Proview cannot sue Apple, but can only sue the corporation that actually bought the trademarks, the experts said,” Levine reports. “Proview extended the battle to American shores last week by accusing Apple of fraud in a lawsuit filed in a California state court. According to the complaint, Apple’s lawyers formed an opaque special purpose entity to buy the iPad trademark. They also sent an email with the allegedly false promise that the entity would not be competing with Proview, the suit said.”

Levine reports, “Large companies often use special purpose entities to conceal their identities in trademark negotiations, for fear that the price will skyrocket if they are revealed. But naming the special purpose entity after the product is unusual, said Martin Schwimmer, a trademark attorney based in New York. ‘I have never encountered this level of ruse,’ Schwimmer said.”

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