Details Emerge in Apple-Proview U.S. ‘Deception’ Lawsuit

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Aly Song / Reuters

A man walks past an iPad 2 advertisement in Shanghai February 23, 2012.

New details about what Apple allegedly did to secure the iPad trademark in China — Chinese monitor manufacturer Proview alleges deceptively, Apple argues legally — are coming to light. According to Proview, the third party Apple created to snatch the rights to the trademark engaged in identity misrepresentation, with one of its agents using a cover name.

Among other things, Proview alleges in a Feb. 17 California lawsuit that the third party — a U.K. firm calling itself “IP Application Development Ltd” or IPADL — employed an agent who called himself Jonathan Hargreaves, when he was in fact a person named Graham Robinson. The court filing by Proview says Robinson used the pseudonym while negotiating to buy the “IPAD” trademark, that Robinson lied when he told Proview his company wanted the name “IPAD” because it stood for “IP Application Development Limited” and that the duplicity entitles Proview to “exemplary damages.”

(MORE: Apple iPad Now Under Fire in U.S.)

Proview is trying to shut down Apple’s shipments of iPads into or out of China, claiming Apple is illegally using a name it (Proview) owns, having sold an unrelated product dubbed “I-PAD” in China earlier. Apple disagrees, having spent $55,000 (via IPADL) to grab the European rights to the trademark from Proview’s parent company back in 2009. Proview maintains that it owns the trademark and is fighting a legal battle with Apple overseas. The California lawsuit marks the first time Proview has taken the battle to Apple’s home turf.

Just last week, Apple won an important victory in its ongoing square-off with Proview: A court in Shanghai rejected Proview’s request for an injunction on iPad sales until legal issues are resolved. But Proview has so far successfully persuaded Chinese law enforcement to confiscate iPads from sale in some cities, and it’s suing Apple for $1.6 billion in China in addition to the $2 billion in the more recent U.S. lawsuit.

We’ll know more shortly: On Wednesday, Feb. 29, a Guangdong court will consider Apple’s appeal of a lower court decision that favored Proview.

MORE: Why Did Apple Really Pull the iPad from Amazon China?