Proview chief executive Yang Long-san has acknowledged that his company is in trouble, but that doesn't mean the end is near.
"My biggest wish is to resolve all these frustrating problems and put them behind me," Yang told Reuters in an interview published today. "If we can resolve all the problems we have now and I have a chance to make a comeback, I'd still want to overtake my old competitors."
Yang didn't say what issues he wants his company to move past, but it's clear Apple might be chief among them. Currently, Proview and Apple are waging a multicontinent legal battle over which firm has the right to use the iPad name. Proview has sued Apple in dozens of Chinese courts, arguing that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is illegally using a trademark for the iPad name. Apple, on the other hand, says that it obtained the trademark for use in several countries.
"We bought Proview's worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago," an Apple spokesperson recently told CNET. "Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter."
Proview has done much of its talking in court. After filing a U.S. lawsuit against Apple earlier this month, the company said that the iPad maker is acting "with oppression, fraud and/or malice." The company is seeking damages and an injunction against Apple using the iPad name.
But as Reuters points out in its profile of Yang, times have been tough for Proview, and its iPad trademark might just be the most important element of its business right now.
Proview made its name as a mid-tier monitor company back in the 1990s. However, after attempting to grow at any cost, Yang's Proview started to lose ground. By the 2000s, Proview was in heavy debt, and when the financial crisis left many banks teetering on the brink of failure, Proview, too, was nearly crippled by its immense debt.
The result has been disastrous for shareholders. In a four-year period between 2007 and 2011, the company's shares fell 82 percent. At the end of its 2009 fiscal year--the last 12-month period immediately available--it lost nearly 3 billion Hong Kong dollars (about $369 million).
Perhaps that's why its lawsuits against Apple are so important. According to reports out of China, Proview hopes to secure $1.6 billion in damages. In the U.S., the company's representatives have threatened $2 billion in damages.
Still, a victory is no means in sight just yet. Last week, a Shanghai court ruled that Apple could keep its iPad on store shelves within the city's walls. The ruling followed claims made by Yang earlier in the week, saying that he was informed by China's customs division that it won't block Apple products outright because they're so popular.
"The customs have told us that it will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products," he said. "The sheer size of the market is very big. We have applied to some local customs for the ban and they'll report to the headquarters in Beijing."