Proview spokesperson says iPad settlement "likely"

The dispute between Chinese display maker Proview and Apple over the iPad trademark may be nearing resolution. The Guangdong High Court wants the two companies to reach a settlement over the dispute that started when Proview's Taiwan subsidiary sold worldwide rights to the trademark to Apple in 2009.

The registration of the trademark was never transferred to China, and financially troubled Proview has been attempting to stop Apple from using the iPad name. According to Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer for Proview, "It is likely that we will settle out of court. The Guangdong High Court is helping to arrange it and the court also expects to do so."

Ma stated that "Actually Proview always expected to settle out of court from the beginning. I don't know if Apple has changed its attitude, but I believe that the key point now is the price." Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said that the company had no new comment about a possible settlement and released a statement that mentioned that Proview "still owe a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a trademark we already paid for."

Despite the comments about a possible settlement, a senior official with the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) today said that "According to the ... provisions of the China Trademark Law, currently Shenzhen Proview is the legal registrant of the iPad trademark."

The comments from Fu Shuangjian, a deputy director of SAIC, are the first that have been made from a government official about the case and could very well forecast the direction that the court may rule -- in favor of Proview. That would most likely mean an expensive settlement for Apple to retain the iPad name in China.