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Chinese iPad Trademark Battle Hits California Court

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-blinking-is-the-rule dept.

China 119

judgecorp writes "The Chinese company Proview is taking its trademark case against Apple's iPad to the Californian Courts. The company acknowledges it sold the IPAD name to Apple, but denies Apple has rights in China, and has accused Apple of underhand tactics." Says the article: "Any kind of ban in China would obviously be a major headache for Apple, since that is where most of the iPads are manufactured. If Proview is successful, it would effectively stop worldwide distribution of the tablet, and delay the launch of the iPad 3."

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Proview is the Dissed Wife (5, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160653)

Ten years ago, Proview was one of the top 5 contract manufacturers, beside companies like Wistron, Foxconn, BenQ, Lenovo, etc. Where some (like Wistron's Acer and Foxconn and Lenovo) managed to grow larger than their contractors (Dell, Apple, Gateway, IBM, etc.), Proview was stuck in the CRT assembly market and never re-emerged. The company made a billion for awhile re-manufacruring and refurbishing old monitors for resale in India, Africa, etc., but that business was labelled "ewaste" and the company went bankrupt in 2007 I think. Now it's an angry wife and wants some of Apple hubbie's moola.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160709)

Making a flashy IP move is like the flicker of bright light before the bulb burns out.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161267)

Wait, who grew larger than their contractors now?

Those companies have a *lot* of employees, but when most of your employees make less than $300 a month that doesn't really make you "larger". In fact, that's kind of the point of why their contractors contract them, to outsource labor that would practically be indentured service in the parent company's home country...

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (0)

jcrb (187104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161683)

I think saying it would be practically indentured service is putting it too mildly. When they speak of how when Apple made a change shortly before product launch and the factory supervisors went around waking up the workers in the on site housing in the middle of the night giving them some tea and sending them to the factory floor to begin retooling in the wee hours of the am, that isn't the sort of treatment an indentured servant is subject to, that is the way you treat slave labor.

Ok you wouldn't give slaves tea first, but other than that there is little difference that I can see.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161735)

I think saying it would be practically indentured service is putting it too mildly. When they speak of how when Apple made a change shortly before product launch and the factory supervisors went around waking up the workers in the on site housing in the middle of the night giving them some tea and sending them to the factory floor to begin retooling in the wee hours of the am, that isn't the sort of treatment an indentured servant is subject to, that is the way you treat slave labor.

Ok you wouldn't give slaves tea first, but other than that there is little difference that I can see.

Your definitions of indenture and slavery are pretty funny. That is how you'd treat an indenture servant, you wake up anytime to work anywhere you want/need them. You feed them and pay a nominal fee, but they do as you command. Take the tea and the nominal salary and then you have slavery. It is no little difference even if argumentative eyes cannot see it.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

atriusofbricia (686672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161865)

I think saying it would be practically indentured service is putting it too mildly. When they speak of how when Apple made a change shortly before product launch and the factory supervisors went around waking up the workers in the on site housing in the middle of the night giving them some tea and sending them to the factory floor to begin retooling in the wee hours of the am, that isn't the sort of treatment an indentured servant is subject to, that is the way you treat slave labor.

Ok you wouldn't give slaves tea first, but other than that there is little difference that I can see.

Not to say that they have the greatest of times over there, I have some measure of direct information this subject, however there is a huge difference between "low pay for long hours" and "slavery". Words mean something. Don't abuse them.

You seem to be applying your Western worldview to a situation in which it doesn't apply. :-)

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162071)

Wait, who grew larger than their contractors now?

Those companies have a *lot* of employees, but when most of your employees make less than $300 a month that doesn't really make you "larger".

Actually, yes it fucking does. I have never heard of any metric of company size where worker income played any role.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162149)

I have never heard of any metric of company size where worker income played any role.

Same with number of employees - useless. It's all about profit and market cap, moron. And Apple's is currently #1 in the world at that.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161565)

Are you implying that it is wrong for a company in possession of valuable "intellectual property" to sue the thieves of the sad property and recover damages? What will happen if a Chinese company tries to sell something called "IPAD" in the US I wonder?

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (3, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161919)

I don't know - are you implying that Apple stole the IP?

They bought the rights to the trademark, and only later (years after the deal) has the original owner (who had full knowledge and participation in the original deal) decided that the rights don't cover China after all, right about the time when they're going through financial difficulty and need cash urgently. It's very convenient.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161989)

Depends on how you're measuring it. Since at the moment there is at least one court in China that has decided that Apple is in the wrong, this is a very strong indication that Apple used "intellectual property" over there illegally, i.e. stole it.

If and when this decision is reversed, I'll review my opinion on the matter ;)

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162037)

Well, the story is pretty cut and dried - they bought the worldwide rights, and Proview's parent company signed off on that. Now they don't believe China is covered under "worldwide".

Or rather, they don't consider that the subsidiary that sold the trademark to Apple's shell company had the authorisation to sell the Chinese rights, despite the parent being party to, and signing, the deal.

Either way, it's something of a desperate grab, since they (Proview) have also already lost a court case on this in Hong Kong.

Calling it "stolen" is a little biased, given that they believe they bought the worldwide rights (they have documents and everything, stating that) but now apparently they didn't... or maybe they did! Who knows!

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163059)

at least one court in China that has decided that Apple is in the wrong, this is a very strong indication that Apple used "intellectual property" over there illegally

I'm not saying the legal system of the UK, France etc are perfect and scrupulously honest, but I wouldn't kick a dog up the arse on the say-so of a fucking Chinese court.

They're not much better than the East Texans.

Re:Proview is the Dissed Wife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161591)

For morons on /.:

beside (b-sd)
prep.
1. At the side of; next to.
2.
a. In comparison with: a proposal that seems quite reasonable beside the others.
b. On an equal footing with: has earned a place beside the best performers in the business.
3. In addition to: "Many creatures beside man live in communities" (Stuart Chase). See Usage Note at besides.
4. Except for. See Usage Note at besides.
5. Not relevant to: a remark that was beside the point.
adv. Archaic
1. In addition.
2. Nearby.
Idiom:
beside (oneself)
In a state of extreme excitement or agitation: They were beside themselves with glee.
[Middle English biside, from Old English be sdan : be, by; see by1 + sde, side.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
beside [bsad]
prep
1. next to; at, by, or to the side of
2. as compared with
3. away from; wide of beside the point
4. Archaic besides
beside oneself (postpositive; often foll by with) overwhelmed; overwrought beside oneself with grief
adv
at, by, to, or along the side of something or someone
[Old English be sdan; see by, side]

So just change the iPad's name (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162547)

Not that big of a deal

Lawyers (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160655)

Well... this is ironic. A company in China is suing one in the US for copyright infringement.

Re:Lawyers (2, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160671)

In this case, i vote for the copyright. Let them eat the same cake. Is it not ironic, China to defend the copyright, and USA to ignore it!

Re:Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161377)

Confucius say live by patent / trade mark litigation die by it.

Re:Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161889)

Did you read the TFA? It's a trademark issue, not a copyright issue.

Re:Lawyers (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160677)

Actually, trademark infringement, which makes it even more ironic.

Re:Lawyers (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160743)

OK, there are patents, there are copyrights, and there are trademarks. This is a trademark case. Let's be sure we get the nomenclature right because there are enough people confusing the three distinct parts of IP law as it is.

Re:Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161709)

why keep them straight? They're all nonsense ignored by the vast majority of the citizens of the world. The only people really interested are the lawyers and those who believe that they can make a quick dollar/yen/quan/peso.

If you are counting on the law to do anything to protect you, you are a fool or already wealthy enough to buy the law enforcement support you need.

Re:Lawyers (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161823)

Well for one thing a trademark remains valid as long as it's still used. In the US copyrights expire in a mere 120 years - until the day comes that the term is further extended.

Re:Lawyers (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160817)

The irony works both ways. Why are Americans suddenly so dismissive of IP now that an American corporation is accused of infringing a foreign IP?

We even hold in high regard movies like The Lion King, which is little better than a Hong Kong bootleg of Kimba the White Lion.

Re:Lawyers (2, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160905)

Because if you knew anything about this situation, you wouldn't be so quick to judge. Facts not in dispute:

  • Proview owned the iPad trademark previously.
  • Apple paid for the trademark in 2009.
  • Apple used a shell company to acquire the trademark so that Proview did not know who was buying it.

What is in dispute: Since Apple used a shell company, Proview says the sale is null and void. I don't know if the contract stipulates Proview had to know the buyer was or if Chinese law has clauses that can invalidate a contract under such conditions. Certainly in the US, it is not a standard clause as corporations buy things with shell companies all the time. For example, Disney was able to build DisneyWorld in Orlando by securing the land rights quietly otherwise if people knew a major corporation was buying the land, they would have raised their prices.

Re:Lawyers (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161301)

That's only here in the US. In China, where they are also suing Apple, they are claiming that a subsidiary of theirs (a Proview subsidiary) sold the rights to iPad only for a single area within China, and did so without the knowledge or permission of headquarters.

Re:Lawyers (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161457)

If a subsidiary sold the rights that's up to the court. Some courts hold that a company must abide by contracts by subsidiaries. If I make a contract with a subsidiary to buy 1000 units, the parent company must honor it even if I bought the units at below cost. From Apple's viewpoint, they believed that they bought a legitimate trademark.

Re:Lawyers (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161747)

If a subsidiary sold the rights that's up to the court. Some courts hold that a company must abide by contracts by subsidiaries. If I make a contract with a subsidiary to buy 1000 units, the parent company must honor it even if I bought the units at below cost. From Apple's viewpoint, they believed that they bought a legitimate trademark.

So long as said contracts are done with the company's approval. In most cases, subsidiaries do not have free reign and must operate on a contractual basis with the parent company.

Re:Lawyers (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162439)

That depends on what the subsidiary has rights to do. Not all actions have to go through the parent company.

Re:Lawyers (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162621)

So long as said contracts are done with the company's approval. In most cases, subsidiaries do not have free reign and must operate on a contractual basis with the parent company.

In this case, both companies had the same CEO. And Apple has email evidence that the subsidiary agreed to the sale, which wasn't shown in the first court case in China.

Re:Lawyers (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161907)

If the subsidary sold it, and the subsidary is wholy owned by the main company, then its the main company. The main company has to wear it, because *it* decided to sell it. Its of no interest to the buyer the internal mechanics or decision making processes of a company.

Its like if an employee of a company buys something stupid in the companys name. The company might hate it, but its anger has to be directed at the employee, not the seller. The same goes the other way around.

Contracts and all that.

Re:Lawyers (5, Informative)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161359)

Not acurate at all from my understanding of the case:
Proview Electronics, a subsidiary of Proview International Holdings, agreed to sell the global iPad trademark in 2006. The rights were sold to a company called IP Application Development (‘IPAD’), for $55,104. The contracts were drawn up by Apple's legal team, listing all trademarks including the one for China, the list was supplied by Proview Electronics (taiwan).
In 2010, Proview Shenzhen (also a subsidiary of Proview International Holdings) began the process of suing Apple for trademark infringement over the ‘iPad’ brand. Proview Taiwan did not own the China trademark, Proview Shenzhen did and not sign over the rights to Proview Taiwan (which had no right to sell it) and did not enter into a contract with Apple to sell it.
Apple claim a mistake was made when the contract was drawn up listing the Trademark as owned by Taiwan but the chairman of both companies was the same person and was fully aware that the China trademark was included and gave permission to sell it, they also claim that they dealt with Shenzhen (it was the Proview Shenzhen people that told Apple Taiwan owned the trademarks).
Apple has had a couple of minor victories in Hong Kong and Taiwan that allows them to keep using the name till the ownership is dicided.
Apple’s own case against Proview that the company was infringing on its trademark with their own product was rejected at the end of last year by a court in Shenzen. Apple is appealing this decision.

The lawyer involved in the assignment of rights from Proview to Apple Inc didn't check the details deed of Assignment correctly and the trademark rights in China were not assigned.
I believe the owner's eyes lit up when he saw that Apple was the real purchaser of the name and is taking full advantage of "buyer beware".
Another twist is apparently Apple's shell company lawyers emailed Proview stipulating that the trademark will not be used in competition with Proview, it was needed only because it was the company name. Apple are not denying this, merely saying it doesn't matter what the lawyers said [reuters.com] - this is part of the Proview lawsuit recently filed in the U.S.

Re:Lawyers (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161677)

That whole deal sounds suspiciously like the deal made with Apple Records...

Re:Lawyers (2)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161791)

Over on allthingsD they have the contracts for everything available for download. China is clearly listed in the list of marks being transferred. It may be that Taiwan did not, in fact, own the rights to the mark in China, however, the legal consul handling the sale was from the Shenzen office, so it's going to be pretty hard for Proview to argue that Taiwan was going rogue in selling the Chinese rights.

Re:Lawyers (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161929)

Yes it is listed, Proview doesn't have to argue rogue anything, where the legal counsel is from is irrelevant as far as I can see - unless the legal counsel had the power to authorise a sale from Shenzhen (I seriously doubt that) just that the contract for China can only be done with Proview Shenzhen's consent, Apple Inc has to prove this. As I stated previously, the lawyer involved in the assignment of rights from Proview Taiwan to Apple Inc didn't check the details deed of Assignment correctly and the trademark rights in China were not assigned - i.e. before transfer they should have made sure Proview Taiwan had what they claimed to have. The courts will decide if Proview Shenzhen (or the owner - the same for both companies) has broken any contracts or if they are obligated to transfer the trademark.

The courts will also decide if Apple Inc were deceptive and broke their end of the contract by putting a competing product on the market despite an undertaking by their legal team that they wouldn't.

....or an "agreement" will be reached.....

Re:Lawyers (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162213)

Except that the legal counsel signed the paperwork knowing whether or not Taiwan had the authority to sell the China rights. This means that they are unlikely to be able to collect any damages from Apple (even if they can get an injunction telling Apple they can no longer use the Ipad trademark in China).

Re:Lawyers (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162571)

The charges against Apple [nationmultimedia.com] .
The fact Apple used a shell company would technically give them some room to manouver in the US but not neccessarily in China.
Additional information - apparently the company was in receivership as of March 2009 so the directors could not sell any assets without the approval of it's creditors [bloomberg.com] (the documents provided by Apple show dates of November and December 2009). If this is true, the best Apple could realistically hope for imo is for the director to be convicted of defrauding them. This would not give them the rights to the name as it would have been illegal to sell the name without the bank's consent.

I wonder if the owner was trying to stuff his own pockets behind the bank's back - hence doing the deal in Taiwan then not having the ability to deliver.

Re:Lawyers (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163107)

Yes it is listed, Proview doesn't have to argue rogue anything, where the legal counsel is from is irrelevant as far as I can see - unless the legal counsel had the power to authorise a sale from Shenzhen.

Usually an officer of a company has the legal authority to sell assets of the company, and the general consul is the chief legal officer. Keep in mind the only thing that matters is if someone legally able to sell the mark authorized the sale. It doesn't matter of the CEO didn't want to sell, or anyone else for that matter, all that matters is that someone legally able to sell the mark signed off on the contract. If the general consul sold the mark without authorization from the rest of the company, the company can sue the legal consul or fire him, but the contract transferring the mark is completely valid.

The courts will also decide if Apple Inc were deceptive and broke their end of the contract by putting a competing product on the market despite an undertaking by their legal team that they wouldn't.

That's also pretty dicey for Proview to prove, since the iPad they developed is basically a first-gen iMac knockoff. They'd have to prove that a CRT based desktop computer (developed in 1998) competes in the same market as an LCD touchscreen tablet.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/17/proview_ipad/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Lawyers (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163233)

Usually an officer of a company has the legal authority to sell assets of the company, and the general consul is the chief legal officer. Keep in mind the only thing that matters is if someone legally able to sell the mark authorized the sale. It doesn't matter of the CEO didn't want to sell, or anyone else for that matter, all that matters is that someone legally able to sell the mark signed off on the contract. If the general consul sold the mark without authorization from the rest of the company, the company can sue the legal consul or fire him, but the contract transferring the mark is completely valid.

Usually is not always, in this particular case it appears the general consul that signed the document is of the Taiwan company [decryptedtech.com] .
This case is also complicated by the possible twist that the Shenzhen company was in the hands of the receivers from March 2009 - sale of assets is not allowed without the approval of the creditors (prevent asset stripping) - see link in one of my previous posts.

That's also pretty dicey for Proview to prove, since the iPad they developed is basically a first-gen iMac knockoff. They'd have to prove that a CRT based desktop computer (developed in 1998) competes in the same market as an LCD touchscreen tablet.

Then Apple can sue them and have the product removed from sale. That line does not help Apple Inc with the charge that they undertook not to use the name on a competing product (on email apparently - I use "apparently" because I haven't sighted the email).

Re:Lawyers (1)

fostware (551290) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161873)

So Proview lawyers are bad for lying about ownership, but Apple lawyers are OK for lying about the non-compete.
Regardless of either parties' merits, lying lawyers are making it possible for more lawyers to make even more money. Sounds like a good ruse to me!

Maybe the original lawyers used a shell company...

Re:Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162255)

The real truth is this is a battle over if China can sell cheap knock offs. My heart bleeds for them! This is a case of once the iPod became popular companies around the world trademarked every variation of that name and that fact came back to bite Apple on it's ass. What is so different than this and cybersquatting? They are after selling knock offs or a big payday. Personally I used to make low budget movies and I have several currently selling in China for a $1 a piece of which I see exactly zero so my heart really bleeds for them. The Chinese company was always going to win this case because gee guess what? They are a CHINESE COMPANY! I say set 25% tariffs on ALL Chinese products and call it a day. The Chinese can cry foul all they want but they have been price fixing all along by setting the price of their dollar well below international values. Until we fight trade wars AS TRADE WARS we will ALWAYS LOOSE!

Re:Lawyers (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161147)

You forgot to mention the lawyers have been outsourced for this suit lol

Re:Lawyers (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161277)

And, if they (the lawyers) work it right, ProView will pay American lawyers twice what they get from Apple.

Translation (2, Informative)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160679)

Translation: Look, we know we sold you the trademark and you legally have the right to use it and all but we're failing as a company, about to be de-listed from the stock exchange and _REALLY_ need the money so would you just shut the hell up and hand over some cash.

Yeah, a failing business certainly makes companies pull some stupid, desperate stunts...

Re:Translation (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161285)

DMCA?

from what I've read already (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160685)

Apple has a long-standing tactic of creating shells to do their brand and part buying, to make it difficult for the rumor mills and competitors to figure out what Apple is up to. And it sounds like they're complaining that they sold the iPad name to a company they didn't realize was buying for Apple.. (otherwise they'd have no doubt have tried to charge them more for it)

Too bad. I have no pity for people that like to scheme with "you have more money, so I'm going to charge you more!" getting beat at their own game. These people are only upset at themselves for not recognizing the value of what they were selling, and want someone to cover their loss as a result.

This is no different than a buyer trying to go after a seller for overcharging them for something after they realize they paid too much for it. Just the shoe's on the other foot.

Re:from what I've read already (2, Interesting)

Dak RIT (556128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160753)

Agreed. Either the trademark was worth $50,000 to you or it wasn't. It should not matter who was buying it. Nor is there anything illegal about creating a shell company to do acquisitions like this.

They are trying to claim that they were told the name wouldn't be used in a similar market, but if that's the case they should have had that in writing in the contract.

This case is not going to go anywhere.

Re:from what I've read already (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161133)

They were just practicing 'market segmentation' ;-)

Re:from what I've read already (5, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160805)

AFAIK, all big companies do this. Microsoft did it when they bought a domain name from my friend. Harvard did it when they bought real estate to expand their campus.

Re:from what I've read already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161113)

So you do have pity for people who scheme with "I'll pretend I'm not sitting on billions of dollars, so I'll offer less" getting taken to court?

This is no different than handing $10 to a homeless guy so he can buy lunch, then finding out he's actually a millionaire who dressed like a homeless guy just to get a free lunch.

Regardless of this case, the practice of using shell companies to hide another corporation's identity and motives is clearly not ethical, and should be illegal. If one party is entering into a contract with the intent of deceiving the other party (which is exactly what this is), you cannot possibly argue that that party is acting ethically. Legally, there may be no recourse, but practices like this are part of what make Apple what it is and reviled as such.

Re:from what I've read already (4, Insightful)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161183)

Wait wait, let me get this straight. An *anonymous coward* is saying it is unethical to hide ones identity?! Oh man talk about the pot and the kettle.... There is nothing wrong with creating a company to either A target a specific market or B do your purchasing. Hell that was the *original* purpose behind these things. You incorporated with a charter to get ABC goods to XYZ shore and that's it. The company ceased to exist thereafter.

Re:from what I've read already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162569)

I'm not "hiding" my identity. I simply don't place any value in registering for a user name. We also aren't conducting any business transaction here. It makes no difference whether or not you know my "real" identity, and even if it did, a Slashdot user name would not give you that information. You need to learn how to compare Apples to Apples. What you're doing here is called being intellectually dishonest. Now, if Apple had made an *anonymous* bid for the name, then we'd be talking about the same thing and guess what, there would have been nothing wrong with that approach. But they didn't make an anonymous bid, they made one from a shell company specifically to deceive and mislead ProView.

Did I create a user name just to make it seem as though I was somehow more deserving of expressing an opinion? Nope, and btw that mentality is really dumb.

setting sell price based upon buyer money (2)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161225)

Is no more ethical than pretending you are poor.

The situation you describe is no different than the old story of getting flat tire at the only gas station in town when you ask the attendant how much it will be to fix the tire he says "how much do you have?".

The seller sets a price, when the buyer meets it a deal is done. Each tries to get the best deal from the other. If the seller would try to bring buyer desperation into the pricing policy, I don't see anything wrong with the buyer doing what they can to eliminate it as a factor.

Wouldn't you be upset if you stood in line at the store to buy the same bottle of pop as the person in front of you and the cashier said it would cost you more because you look like you have more money?

Pay your fair share! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161641)

This is how the tax system works - you ask "how much for my share of Government?"

The MAN says, "How much you got?"

Seriously, this Chinese company must have a large holding of SCO Stock!

Re:setting sell price based upon buyer money (1)

jcrb (187104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161699)

Wouldn't you be upset if you stood in line at the store to buy the same bottle of pop as the person in front of you and the cashier said it would cost you more because you look like you have more money?

You have obviously never bought an airline ticket at the last minute have you?

Re:from what I've read already (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161533)

This is no different than handing $10 to a homeless guy so he can buy lunch, then finding out he's actually a millionaire who dressed like a homeless guy just to get a free lunch.

This is really nothing like that. Pro-view certainly wasn't trying to be charitable. It would be more like selling someone a hamburger for $5, then suing them when you found out they were a millionaire because you would have charged them $500. In that case, you would be the asshole. And you probably are, from the sounds of it.

Re:from what I've read already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162031)

Uhmm... Since when does McDonald's charge $1 for a McDouble if you make less than $1mil/year, but charge $100 for the same McDouble if you make over a $1mil/year?

This is what Apple was trying to prevent. They didn't get it cheaper because they presented themselves as a smaller company; Proview didn't say "oh, you're a small company, so we'll cut the price". They just didn't pay more because they were Apple. There's nothing wrong with this.

Back to McDonald's, Donald Trump would hire bums, and pay them in hamburgers, to buy him McDoubles if McDonald's tried to pull that shit. Would you think that was wrong?

It's the same thing.

Re:from what I've read already (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162381)

Uhmm... Since when does McDonald's charge $1 for a McDouble if you make less than $1mil/year, but charge $100 for the same McDouble if you make over a $1mil/year?

This is what Apple was trying to prevent. They didn't get it cheaper because they presented themselves as a smaller company; Proview didn't say "oh, you're a small company, so we'll cut the price". They just didn't pay more because they were Apple. There's nothing wrong with this.

Back to McDonald's, Donald Trump would hire bums, and pay them in hamburgers, to buy him McDoubles if McDonald's tried to pull that shit. Would you think that was wrong?

It's the same thing.

It's not quite the same. McDonald's is not the only restaurant that sell burgers. If you think that McDonald's burger is too expensive, you can get them on burger king, Carl Jr, or others, albeit on a slightly different.. err setup. On the other side, Proview is the only company that is able to provide apple the "ipad" trademark. It won't work if it's not "ipad"

Re:from what I've read already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39163185)

It's not quite the same. McDonald's is not the only restaurant that sell burgers. If you think that McDonald's burger is too expensive, you can get them on burger king, Carl Jr, or others, albeit on a slightly different.. err setup.

On the other side, Proview is the only company that is able to provide apple the "ipad" trademark. It won't work if it's not "ipad"

No, it is exactly the same. If you want a McDouble, only McDonald's can sell it to you, just like Proview was the only supplier for the "ipad" trademark. If you think that the "ipad" trademark is too expensive, you can get another different one somewhere else.

Real kicker (2)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161269)

Apple has a long-standing tactic of creating shells to do their brand and part buying, to make it difficult for the rumor mills and competitors to figure out what Apple is up to.

Not only that, but China also has a legal culture where companies use shell companies to make purchases. According to Reuters [reuters.com] :

Industry executives have said employing special-purpose entities to acquire trademarks is a frequent tactic in China.

Not that this will prevent Proview from wanting to get more from the deal after-the-fact. In my opinion, the real kicker's gotta be that the name of the shell company Apple used.

Proview accuses Apple of creating a special purpose entity -- IP Application Development Ltd, or IPAD -- to buy the iPad name from it, concealing Apple's role in the matter.

Re:from what I've read already (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161495)

This is no different than a buyer trying to go after a seller for overcharging them for something after they realize they paid too much for it. .

People do this all the time if they can by returning the item. It's hard to determine the market value for a trademark so I'm not sure if it's feasible to find a middle ground between "gouging" and "giving it away", but Apple's tactics are fairly sleazy, like using a fake picture on a dating website.

Re:from what I've read already (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161811)

Apple has a long-standing tactic of creating shells to do their brand and part buying, to make it difficult for the rumor mills and competitors to figure out what Apple is up to. And it sounds like they're complaining that they sold the iPad name to a company they didn't realize was buying for Apple.. (otherwise they'd have no doubt have tried to charge them more for it)

Apple has an history of launching a product without getting getting all their trademark ducks lined up in a row. The trademark/company name "Apple" is one example. The Beatles owned that one for their holding company. The trademark "iPhone" is another example. Cisco owned that one for their internet phone.

After the success of the iPod, Apple even began threatening anyone who started naming their product iAnything and demanded that the name and their associated domain names be surrendered to them. They just couldn't sue Cisco, Cisco had legitimately gotten the iPhone name even before the iPod came out, and it had paid its yearly trademark registration fee every year since.

In any case, my original point still stands. Even if Cisco owned the Trademark, Apple still didn't really care, Apple launched the iPhone without securing the rights to its name beforehand (no doubt, it must have cost Apple an arm and a leg to show its hand before the negotiation for the name was even completed, it supposedly settled the matter with Cisco for an undisclosed amount).

These people are only upset at themselves for not recognizing the value of what they were selling, and want someone to cover their loss as a result. This is no different than a buyer trying to go after a seller for overcharging them for something after they realize they paid too much for it. Just the shoe's on the other foot.

Your fanboy'ism is showing. This is only a speculation on your part, spoken by you as it was already an accepted fact. Nothing in the article, or in the previous articles about the same story, even suggests anything of the kind.

And yes, your theory could still be true anyway, I don't dispute that possibility. It's just that neither of us knows what happened in this case, at least right now until we get better information on their claim.

Re:from what I've read already (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162115)

To be fair, Apple had the Apple trademark pretty clear and in the green WRT computers. Trademarks are only applicable in the realm that the business operates under. Apple Computers only operated in the realm of computers, and Apple Music only operated in the music realm. There was no need for legal resolution until Apple Computers started venturing into the realm of sound / quicktime / etc.

iThing is problematic, in that it is a form of branding that only falls on the edge of trademark law. Hence, branding the iPod as i*** was a dicey choice, but a highly memorable one that has served them well. Cisco's iPhone trademark was admitted to be abandoned, with the duration of abandonment the only thing under question.

Oh noes! (0, Flamebait)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160719)

You're not supposed to sue Apple! It's the other way around! Stop it or Job will be angry, up there in heavens with god to his right.

Re:Oh noes! (-1, Redundant)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161219)

Hmmm...very insightful analysis for an 8 year old. Do your parents know you are posting here?

Prescient call by Vivek Wadhwa, eh? (3, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160747)

BusinessWeek, Jan. 10, 2011: China Could Game the U.S. in Intellectual Property [businessweek.com] : Now China may do with intellectual property what it did with capitalism: adapt our system and beat us at our own game.

Re:Prescient call by Vivek Wadhwa, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161925)

What if apple said, drop this bs or we pull out of china manuf?

Re:Prescient call by Vivek Wadhwa, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162313)

What if apple said, drop this bs or we pull out of china manuf?

Foxconn is their manufacturer, Proview isn't.

Apple won't because it'll be hard to find a new manufacturer somewhere else and their profit margin will suffer due to the startup investment required to form a relationship with a new company plus the general operating costs will be higher. You don't get to escape legal problems by threatening the government, extortion and contempt of court are also crimes.

I hoe they win! (-1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160781)

Then all the pretentious ibuttholes around here will go Foxconn themselves!!! Crapple is crap!!!!

Proview has no claim outside mainland China (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160801)

They sold the rights to the trademark to Apple. There is no problem manufacturing the product in China, as long as it's not sold in mainland China under that name. Apple does have rights to use the trademark elsewhere. This is purely a money grab by Proview.

Re:Proview has no claim outside mainland China (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160803)

Forgot the usual IANAL

Re:Proview has no claim outside mainland China (2)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161341)

Don't you mean iANAL?

Re:Proview has no claim outside mainland China (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160821)

They sold the rights to the trademark to Apple. There is no problem manufacturing the product in China, as long as it's not sold in mainland China under that name.

Right; the article is totally off base about this stopping worldwide distribution. Even if they lost, they could continue to make the iPod in China for export only.

Re:Proview has no claim outside mainland China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161417)

they could sell it as the ____
                                  IPAD

in China

Re:Proview has no claim outside mainland China (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162225)

Correct, and Proview may have legally sold the rights in mainland China as well even though they are claiming otherwise. Of course given that that would be adjudicated in a Chinese court and Proview is a Chinese (read partially owned by the government and/or politically powerful people) company and Apple is not, it is likely that Apple will lose that case in court, no matter what the actual law says.

It's so ironic (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160807)

Of all nationalities, a CHINESE company is feeling bereft of its idea, and goes to court over it. It's funny to see the PRC govt. crack down on this as well, while systematically turning a blind eye to all other plagiariasm and IP theft that is the technological foundation of the nation.

Re:It's so ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160841)

Not ironic. Just business.

Re:It's so ironic (1)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161263)

Each sovereign nation dictates what value it gives to IP as it has no intrinsic value, ideas are free in every sense of the word in nature. China is just doing the pragmatic thing, ignore other sovereigns IP unless they have no choice, but they're going to protect their own because they can. Seriously, who would follow any form of IP law if they didn't *have* to? Maybe China will someday either become the next Disney for immortal IP extension or they'll become the example to follow for logical short term IP.

Re:It's so ironic (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161813)

Did you see pictures of the "iPad" ProVIEW developed? It's basically an opaque first-gen iMac with buttons on top of the screen. Similar down to where the speakers are located and the carry handle on the back.

it's all so surreal and unlikely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160827)

...that it makes one suspect that it's a planned project to see how far and with what effects the american justice and patent system can be played, manipulated and used. it smells of intelligence gathering. seriously... the people's republic of china's government suddenly caring for trademarks, intellectual property etc.?

I see no (big) problem (1)

burne (686114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160831)

just a quick adaptation of artwork on the device and the box.

I don't care if the box reads 'Proview management pisses on their mothers graves®' in nice Chinese calligraphy. And that trademark isn't registered in China, at this time.

it's time to rid the world of (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160867)

CHICOMs!

Simple fix (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160891)

Rename the iPad to iTablet and call it a day

Re:Simple fix (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161017)

AMteK owned the iTablet trademark last I saw.

Re:Simple fix (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161883)

Wow I figured Apple would have secured the rights to any word possible (after putting a lowercase i in front of it tho)

and apple will have a hard time selling itv in uk (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160977)

and apple will have a hard time selling itv in the uk. If they where to name there apple tv Itv.

Re:and apple will have a hard time selling itv in (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163247)

and apple will have a hard time selling itv in the uk. If they where to name there apple tv Itv.

So it's a good job that Apple haven't even confirmed that they are making a TV, let alone what it will be called.

Also, the newspaper claim that ITV had contacted Apple to warn them off has been disputed [theverge.com] - although I believe it was briefly an issue some years ago when the Apple TV STB was first announced.

Disregarding all that, yes, iTV would be a spectacularly bad name to use in the UK - even legally - because its a household name that has been associated with the second largest TV channel since the 1950s even though the current company is fairly recent. They have already ventured into IPTV with their "ITV Player" service (there's an App for that [apple.com] ). Also, if you read the Wikipedia article on ITV [wikipedia.org] you'll see that the "ownership" of the name ITV is far from simple, and acquiring it would be a can of worms (quite probably involving the UK government).

Oh, and since ITV Studios sell shows worldwide, its a fair bet that the trademark is registered in other countries, too.

All that is rather a far cry from buying the trademark rights to the name of a specific, obscure (or possibly discontinued) product.

Plus, most people could eat a can of Alphabetti Spaghetti and puke a better name for a premium-priced television set.

Disney did the same (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160999)

I have no idea whether or not it constitutes fraud to hide behind a "shell" company (although common sense tells me it isn't fraud, I mean a small company could've bought the trademark and then Apple bought it from them what's the difference?).

But I do know that Disney, when he was buying up (seemingly) most of Florida for Walt Disney WORLD used exactly this tactic to acquire the (tens of thousands?) of square miles of land he needed. He didn't want to repeat the fundamental mistake of building a theme park but not the land around it thus allowing (other) developers to get rich. (I understand that finally that Japanese American family that owned a strawberry farm right next to Disneyland finally sold, probably for a HUGE amount).

I never heard of Disney getting sued let alone losing.

So this, to me, doesnt seem to be fraud, not unless they lied about something. (I understand that Proview claimed the purchasers said they wouldn't have a competing product; well not only is the iPad completely different from what Proview made, but Proview hasn't made it for years).

Re:Disney did the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161525)

But I do know that Disney, when he was buying up (seemingly) most of Florida for Walt Disney WORLD used exactly this tactic to acquire the (tens of thousands?) of square miles of land he needed.

Umm.... All of Florida is 67,000 square miles... I don't think Walt bought tens of thousands of them for little old Disney World.

Re:Disney did the same (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162685)

I think you mean 47 [wikipedia.org] square miles?

Houston, we have a problem (2)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161015)

Steve Jobs personally was the only one who knew how to operate the reality distortion field. Now he's gone, it's thrashing about wildly causing all manner of worldwide chaos, such as this zombie Chinese company thinking it still owns the rights to the name it sold to someone because, err, that someone since sold it to Apple.

Re:Houston, we have a problem (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161117)

Why not? Apple think it still owns the handset it sold to me.

Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161125)

EOM

hmmmm..... (1)

Valcrus (1242564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161311)

Sounds like its about time to look at moving all your manufacturing out from China and look elsewhere.

Apple could be in trouble this time... (1)

Vapula (14703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161587)

There are two issues at hand : did Apple get the iPad trademark in China and is the buying through a shell company valid.

It seem that Apple has no rights for the iPad brand in China (well, they got screwed over this one). If courts in china decide that Apple has no right to the iPad name in China, this could mean that production could be blocked in China... And producing the iPad somewhere else would mean (much) higher costs.

There is also another problem : when Apple bought the name, it made up a name for a company which was the same than the product name (iPad) but where saying it wasn't about electronic display devices (well, it was about software programming) so there were no trademark issue (else, IP Application Development could have been sued for Trademark infrigment by Proview). It's improbable that Proview would have sold the iPad trademark to some company planning to make display devices.

Re:Apple could be in trouble this time... (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161701)

If courts in china decide that Apple has no right to the iPad name in China, this could mean that production could be blocked in China... And producing the iPad somewhere else would mean (much) higher costs.

Not at all. There is absolutely nothing to prevent Apple from building a device in one country and selling it in another country under a different name. Yes, Apple does not want to market their tablet product in China without using the iPad brand, but even if they were to lose (or be ruled not to own) the iPad trademark in China, they could still build it there. The trademark is for *trade*, not manufacture. So they sell the applePad in China, and the iPad everywhere else. Gmail seemed to do ok in the UK as "googlemail" until the IP rights got straightened out.

Re:Apple could be in trouble this time... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162273)

It seem that Apple has no rights for the iPad brand in China

If this was a case being decided in the U.S. about someone who bought the trademark from a U.S. company, and if statements by other posters here are correct, there is a good chance that Apple would win. According to another poster the Chairman of the company (subsidiary of the parent company) that sold the trademark to Apple was (and is?) the same person of the Chairman of the company (alternate subsidiary of the same parent company) that owned the trademark for use in mainland China. Additionally, yet another poster said that the lawyers for the company that sold the trademark were brought in from the alternate subsidiary that the parent company is now claiming owned the trademark for mainland China. As I said, in U.S. courts those two facts combined with the fact that the documents of sale clearly state that the trademark rights for mainland China were being sold would lead the courts to rule that the trademark rights for mainland China were indeed sold.

A compromise reached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161685)

Apple has offered to change the name of the iPad to iFU.

So how is that outsourcing working for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161829)

So how is that outsourcing to China working out for you Apple? One company can grind your entire production to a halt.

iTM (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162033)

I'm gonna trademark iShoe, iRock, iCar, iFruit, iBeam, iGlasses, iSpy, iPatent... because these are all totally new original words and it's not like I'm trying to trademark a generic term at all.

Whoops, please add iTrademark, iGeneric and iTerm to that list.

Oops! iList!

Damn - iOops.

uhoh. iDamn

will it never end?

iEnd

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