By King & Wood's Trademark Practice

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd ("Proview") has accused Apple of infringement over its exclusive right to the "ipad" name, and requested Apple to stop its trademark infringement immediately, otherwise it would work with 8 creditor banks including Bank of China to ask relevant authorities to seize Apple's infringing goods.

Proview is a HK listed company wholly invested by Proview International, and is mainly engaged in developing and producing CRT displays, LCD TVs and their fittings and accessories.

Proview International registered "ipad" trademark in EU, China, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and other countries from 2000 to 2004, and transferred the trademark in EU to Apple early 2010. But it said Proview still held the mark in China. However, Apple claims it has taken all the "ipad" trademarks including the one registered in China based on the agreement made between Proview International and Apple. The case was brought to court in May 2010, and is still being heard in Hong Kong.

Apple is one of the companies who use similar names for their core products (iPad, iPhone, iPod), making up what some call a family of marks. The advantage of having a trademark family is that the consumers will easily associate the new product name with the old ones and hence reinforce the whole family names that enjoy the goodwill of Apple. The disadvantage is that it will be easy for competitors or trademark squatters to anticipate the future product name for preemptive filing.

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