Bankruptcy threat to iPad trademark challenger

Reports say major creditor seeking liquidation of iPad trademark challenger Shenzhen Proview

Associated Press
Bankruptcy threat to iPad trademark challenger
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FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 file photo, a man walks past an advertisement of Apple's iPad 2 in Shanghai, China. Chinese media reports said Monday, March 5, 2012, a major creditor of Proview Electronics, which is challenging Apple Inc.'s use of the iPad trademark, has moved to have the ailing computer monitor maker liquidated. Reports by the Xinhua News Agency and other mainland media said Taiwan-based Fubon Insurance is seeking $8.68 million in debts. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

SHANGHAI (AP) -- A major creditor of Proview Electronics, which is challenging Apple Inc.'s use of the iPad trademark, has moved to have the ailing computer monitor maker liquidated, Chinese media reports said.

Taiwan-based Fubon Insurance is seeking $8.68 million in debts and has applied to have Proview declared bankrupt, according to the reports Monday by the Xinhua News Agency and other mainland media.

Proview's mainland Chinese subsidiary is based in the southern export zone of Shenzhen, where an official at the city's Intermediate Court said he expected an announcement regarding the bankruptcy soon.

"It's a sensitive case in a sensitive period of time, so we won't comment or release information while we will have an announcement in the near future," said the official who gave only his surname, Zhu.

Proview lawyer Ma Dongxiao said the company believes its financial problems won't affect the handling of a court case in which Apple is appealing a ruling against its claim to the iPad trademark in China.

Apple says it bought the trademark from Proview Electronics in 2009. Proview is suing Apple in the U.S., seeking to have that deal ruled invalid. It says the 35,000 British pound ($55,000) deal did not include the mainland Chinese iPad trademark, which was owned by the mainland unit, Shenzhen Proview Technology.

Chen Yi, a lawyer for Fubon, said her client had requested she not discuss the case for now. However she referred to a recent interview with the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily newspaper, in which she said Fubon had rejected Proview's request to wait for the final outcome of its dispute with Apple.

She was quoted as saying that Fubon was not convinced that Proview, whose assets barely match its debts, would be able to repay its debts from compensation payments from Apple.

Proview's mainstream computer monitor business fell on hard times in 2008 and the company is liquidating assets as it goes through a restructuring. Its main product is now LED street lights.

It has urged Apple to settle out of court, presumably for far more than the 2009 deal, in exchange for ending the trademark dispute.

Apple has evinced no interest in such a settlement, saying it believes it owns the iPad trademark.

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Researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.

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