Apple’s iPad trademark case in China is getting more complicated then ever. The Bank of China and seven other banks, which make up the rest of Proview’s creditors, have indicated that the dispute is no longer in Proview’s hands, which is now ‘essentially the legal battle between Apple and the Chinese banks’. Before Proview filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, the company was said to have owed more than US$400 million to the banks. The lenders might now own the Chinese rights to the iPad brand …
Earlier this week, the Chinese banks appealed to the courts for Proview to be put into liquidation, potentially freezing its case with Apple in accordance with Chinese law. One of its creditors made the move to reclaim the debts. The creditor had applied for Proview’s remaining assets to be liquidated after the company has failed to comply with the ruling for six months. So with the deadline on the decision already passed, their laywers applied to the Chinese court for an expedited ruling. The ruling means that Proview is unable to make agreements or sell assets without the approval of its creditors.
According to informed sources, all the eight Chinese banks had already seized Proview’s assets, including its iPad trademark registration, nine months before Apple bought the iPad trademarks from one of the Proview’s subsidiaries, which included registrations in China. The Chinese press has contacted six of the creditor banks to confirm the matter, but the banks said they have not released any official statement regarding the issue. The lawyer from Proview has also claimed that the iPad trademark has not shifted to any of their creditor banks.
Right now, the most valuable asset of Proview is the iPad trademark registration in China. Assuming the creditors have control of the affairs, it might be in their best interest to get a settlement as quickly as possible to monetize the Proview assets. Whether this could increase the changes of an early settlement remains to be seen. All the eight Chinese banks might just not want to involve themselves in the legal fight with Apple.
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