Apple sued in U.S. in iPad trademark dispute

Apple is facing a war on its home turf, as China-based Proview is taking its lawsuit against the 'iPad' trademark to the United States.

Proview International, which claims it owns the 'iPad' trademark in China, has brought its lawsuit against Apple to the United States.

Last week, two divisions of Proview filed a suit in Santa Clara County bringing the trademark battle directly to Silicon Valley's front door.

In the filing papers, seen by Reuters, it alleges that Apple created a company named 'IPAD' --- an acronym for IP Application Development Ltd. --- to conceal Apple's involvement in buying the trademark. In buying it directly, it could have blown the lid off the product launch.

Proview is asking for all sales of the iPad to be halted in the United States. But the company is not having recent luck in its mission to take on a technology superpower, after a court in Shanghai earlier this week refused to ban the sale of iPads in the city.

But Apple said that it bought the trademark from Proview and is able to use the trademark in 10 different countries. It also said Proview failed to honour the agreement, only a couple of months since a Hong Kong court sided with Cupertino.

It released supporting evidence and documents to AllThingsD, which shows clear documentation of Apple's purchasing of the trademark.

But its motives will be questioned. China's government favours the side of Chinese companies in copyright and trademark disputes, and its laws are designed to benefit homegrown companies, as ZDNet's Hana Stewart-Smith notes.

But Proview fell on hard times during the global financial crisis, and is struggling to keep afloat. The company faces delisting from the Hong Kong stock exchange unless it can muster up a rescue plan by mid-2012.

Image source: CNET.

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