The Higher People's Court of Guangzhou heard the latest appeal from Apple over its right to the iPad trademark today.
Lawyers for Apple argued that "in the eyes of the consumer, iPad is associated with Apple. If the court decides that Proview wins the case, then this will confuse customers and hurt their interests."
The verdict is not expected for another few weeks, but the ruling of the court is crucial to bringing an end to the legal dispute that began in 2009. Another trademark infringement case in Shanghai halted proceedings pending the verdict of this appeal, and it also stands to effect future rulings across China.
If the court were to side with Apple over the appeal, then the other cases leveled against the company could be turned around. However, should the court maintain its original ruling in Proview's favour, Apple may be forced to settle or re-title the iPad for sale in China.
Considering the argument given today over customer association of the brand, it seems unlikely that Apple would be willing to change the product's iconic name in such a big market.
The Shenzen court originally sided with Proview over the ownership of the trademark in 2010. Apple's appeal is one of its best chances to win the trademark battle on the Chinese mainland.
The issue still focuses around the rights to the trademark within China. Apple bought the global trademark from Proview's Taiwan arm, which Proview (Shenzen) claims did not include the rights to China.
As the court is hearing this appeal, Proview is also taking the fight to Apple's home turf. Last week it filed a case in a California court accusing Apple of fraud.
The new lawsuit claims that Apple committed fraud when it purchased the iPad rights from a UK based subsidiary company called IP Application Development.
The allegations made by Proview were revealed in a press release on Monday. It detailed a series of alleged fraudulent actions made by the company to convince Proview to sell the trademark.
Apple's lawyers have also made it clear that they reserve the rights to take further legal action against Proview for defamation. It looks like this legal back and forth is far from over.
- Apple vs. Proview: What happened so far, and what next?
- Shanghai court rejects Proview injunction against Apple
- 6 new rumored features of the iPad 3