In its most detailed statement yet regarding its battle over the ownership of the iPad trademark in China, Apple said Proview International was deliberately "misleading" Chinese courts.
Proview tricked Apple into signing a carefully crafted agreement in 2009 that has raised questions over the trademark's rightful owner in China, Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said in a statement cited by The Wall Street Journal. She went on to say that the troubled company was trying to exploit that situation to extract more money from Apple.
"Proview clearly made that arrangement so they wouldn't have to give the money to their creditors" in mainland China, Wu said. "Because they 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."
An attorney for the Hong Kong-based company, meanwhile, told the newspaper that Apple was "misleading the public."
"The fact is that Apple's former lawyer made a silly mistake," Xiao Caiyuan said, apparently referring to the 2009 deal Apple made with a Taiwan subsidiary of Proview even though the trademark technically belonged to the mainland-based Proview Technology Shenzhen, which is reportedly $400 million in debt.
Proview has claimed that its subsidiary didn't have the authority to sell the trademark and has reportedly been looking to settle out of court over the issue. Proview has filed numerous lawsuits in China, as well as one in the United States, that seek to keep Apple's tablet off retailer shelves and stop Apple from using the iPad trademark on its products.
But while Proview has been battling Apple over the trademark, it's also been fighting to stay in business. Taiwan-based Fubon Insurance, looking to recoup millions in outstanding debt, has filed an application to declare Proview bankrupt and have its assets liquidated.