A Taiwanese monitor manufacturer is threatening to sue Apple for $US1.5 billion for the "iPad" name, claiming they registered "I-Pad" in 2000 for a tablet which failed to launch. Fujitsu tried (and failed), but Proview wants a stab too.
As the story goes, Proview registered the trademark in the European Union, as well as China, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2006, Proview reportedly sold the global trademark (for each company except for China) to a US company for the equivalent of $US55,100, but they weren't informed it was Apple - or even related to Apple, as they named themselves "IP Application Development". This mystery company registered the iPad trademark in the US in January of this year.
Proview's chairman Yang Rongshan told the Financial Times that "we will sue them for damages in China and in the US", and going some way to explain their stance, he said, "We are in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset that could help us sort out part of that trouble."
The whole case is pretty murky, though. Due to Proview's defaulting on loans, Chinese creditors took their assets - which included all their trademarks. Apple and IP Application Development have previously sued Proview as well for the Chinese "IPAD" trademark.
It's not the first time Apple's faced such threats of lawsuits, with Cisco famously suing Apple in 2007 for the iPhone trademark. They eventually settled and went about their business, both using the iPhone name for their own products.