Proview doesn’t pay attorney fees in iPad suit, lawyers sue

China-based Proview recently took home a cool $60 million settlement in iPad trademark case which delayed the tablet’s launch in China.

Despite the handsome payout, the bankrupt display vendor says it doesn’t have money to pay its lawyers their legal fees accrued while fighting Apple over the iPad trademark.

Lawyers being lawyers, they took their former client to court, seeking 2.4 million dollars in legal fees. What goes around comes around, I guess…

Engadget, relaying a machine-translated Sina Tech story, explains Proview had a deal with its legal representatives that they would get paid four percent of whatever settlement fee the court ruled upon.

As Apple was ordered to pony up $60 million to settle the case, Grandall Law Firm should have gotten four percent of that, which translates to $2.4 million.

The only problem?

Proview refused to pay up.

While acknowledging their contractual arrangement (wherein the law firm covers the legal fees in advance, and then expect the client to pay up after winning the case), Proview founder Yang Rongshan told Sina Tech that Grandall’s behavior is “nonsense,” and that his company isn’t obliged to pay back immediately as it isn’t under normal operation right now.

That’s an interesting explanation that I think exposes Proview as a shady firm. First they decide in 2010 to sell its iPad trademark to Apple for a meager $50,000.

Then the company figures they could have extracted much more so they play dumb claiming that a subsidiary which had signed the agreement with Apple wasn’t authorized to do so by Proview’s China headquarters.

Proview then manages to milk Apple for an additional $60 million, knowing Apple would be forced to settle if it wanted to see the iPad go on sale in China.

And now this?

Perhaps the fact it owes a bunch of money to its creditors has to do something with Proview’s conditioned parsimony?

MIC Gadget found out in February that Proview owes over a billion dollars in liabilities and overdue loans to Chinese banks.

All of the Proview International assets, including the trademark ‘IPAD’, have been seized as mortgage to eight banks — Bank of China, Minsheng Bank, China Development Bank, Guangdong Development Bank, Bank of Communications, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Huaxia Bank and Shenzhen Ping An Bank.

On November 1 2011, the eight creditor banks of Proview convened a meeting to discuss the negotiation with Apple on the trademark dispute. Since Proview’s assets have been frozen by the banks, the eight banks become the beneficiaries of the iPad trademark.

Life’s a bitch, I guess, but Proview’s debts don’t absolve the company from compensating its legal team, without whom there would have been no settlement in the first place.

Perhaps Proview wasn’t all too happy that its lawyers arranged only a $60 million payout and not $2 billion, as the bankrupt firm at one point believed its iPad trademark in China was worth?

Crazy world, eh?