Archive for the ‘chinese court’ tag
A Chinese court announced on Monday that Apple had reached an agreement with Proview to pay $60 million for the Chinese rights to the iPad trademark.
A Chinese court is trying to mediate a settlement between Apple and a company named Proview over control of the iPad trademark in China. A Chinese official claims that the trademark rightfully belongs to Proview according to Chinese law, despite the fact that the company sold the trademark in 2009. In a separate American suit, Proview alleges its sale of the trademark is invalid because the buyer was an Apple shell company.
Apple and Proview have been locked in a dispute over who owns the iPad trademark in China for some time. Proview originally obtained the trademark for a product it developed with National Semiconductor in 1999 known as the Internet Personal Access Device, or “I-PAD.” That device was a low-cost, low-powered computer running Windows that, unlike a tablet of any kind, used a bulky CRT display.
The dispute between Apple and Proview over the “iPad” trademark has just gotten a lot more domestic. Proview, which owned the “iPad” trademark in several countries until they sold the rights to Apple, has been alleging shenanigans, specifically that part of the company never authorized the sale. Apple, for their part, says that everything is in order, and they have the signatures of the recalcitrant Shenzhen branch of Proview to prove it.
A Chinese court found that while the ownership of the trademark was not yet able to be settled, there wasn’t enough evidence to support a sales ban on the iPad. But now Proview has brought the court to California, alleging that Apple defrauded them of the trademark by approaching them as a fictional company: IP Application Development Ltd., or IPAD Ltd.
IPAD Ltd apparently applied to Proview for the trademark as an abbreviation of its name, and promised future products wouldn’t compete with Proview’s. If true, this is a fairly serious offense, and Apple’s ownership of the trademark could be overturned. The legitimacy of the emails (which the Wall Street Journal claims to have seen) will surely be contested, but if it’s all on the record, it could be curtains for the iPad in China — at least, unless Apple wants to pay Proview’s extortionate fees for the privilege.
The suit was filed in California on the 17th, and the China case was suspended yesterday. There is no word on when the U.S. case will go to court.
Apple is threatening to sue Proview, the bankrupt firm that once held the iPad trademark.
The two companies have been squabbling back and forth over the past few weeks over which actually held the right to the iPad name in China.
Proview, which is headquartered in China, saw a Taiwanese subsidiary sell the iPad trademark to Apple in 2001. However, the parent company claimed the transaction was invalid. Earlier this month, Proview sued Apple, asking the court to ban iPad sales in China and demanding an apology from Apple, as well as a hefty fine.
After a Chinese court upheld Apple’s right to use the iPad name in the country, Apple is now considering bringing a defamation lawsuit against Proview for the latter company’s actions and communications with mainstream and tech press outlets.
In a letter to Proview founder Yang Rongshan, Apple’s attorneys write, “It is inappropriate to release information contrary to the facts to the media, especially when such disclosures have the effect of wrongfully causing damage to Apple’s reputation.
“Making misrepresentations in the press to inflame the situation is adversely affecting the interests of the parties in seeking any resolution of the matter. On behalf of Apple, we formally reserve all rights to take further legal action against any individuals and entities for any damages that may result from defamatory statements and unlawful actions intended to wrongfully interfere with Apple’s business and business relationships.”
The full contents of the letter are below:
[hat tip: All Things D]
Filed under: VentureBeat
Proview, the Shenzhen company that is claiming trademark rights to the ‘iPad’ name, said it won a small legal victory on Friday as the Intermediate People’s Court in Huizhou handed down a ruling against the sale of Apple’s ubiquitous tablet.
A Chinese court is leaning in favor of Apple in a convoluted case over who holds the right to use the term “iPad” in that country.
Chinese manufacturer Proview Technology had owned the trademark, but it failed to transfer the trademarks for “iPad” to Apple, which claimed to have purchased the product name years ago.
“We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,” according to a statement from Apple. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter.”
Proview Technology says it has owned the trademark since 2001, but Apple says it made a deal to buy the trademark before the iPad was ever released.
Proview has locations in Taiwan, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Hong Kong and Europe, with its Taiwan office acting as Proview Electronics, an affiliate of Proview. The company says Apple bought the trademark from its Taiwan entity. Since the patent belongs to the Shenzhen office, Proview did not feel the need to honor the agreement.
Judge Hon Poon of the High Court in Hong Kong, however, formally disagreed with that assessment.
All Proview’s entities are run by Yang Rongshan, who was the chairman and chief executive of the company until it went bankrupt in August 2010.
According to court documents, the deal between Apple and Proview occured in December 2009, with the “iPad” moniker selling for around $55,000. Apple says it was led to believe all of the Chinese trademarks for “iPad” existed with Proview Electronics, the Taiwanese entity, as proprieter and thus were due the transfer of ownership.
When the iPad was released, Apple found that some of the trademarks existed under Proview Shenzhen and reported it as a “mistake,” after which Proview demanded Apple pay $10 million for the trademark. China Daily reports a lawyer for Proview suggested that Apple either pay the sum requested by Proview or find another name for the iPad.
The financial clues leading up to Proview’s bankruptcy emerged, including a stop on the sale of its stock on the Hong Kong stock exchange. And since all the Proview entities existed under Yang Rongshan, Judge Poon called foul:
“Here, the conduct of all the defendants demonstrate that they have combined together with the common intention of injuring Apple and IP Application by acting in breach of the Agreement. Proview Holdings, Proview Electronics and Proview Shenzhen, all clearly under Yang’s control, have refused to take any steps to ensure compliance with the Agreement so that the China Trademarks are properly assigned or transferred to IP Application (Apple’s third party trademark purchaser). Instead, they attempted to exploit the situation as a business opportunity for the Proview Group by seeking an amount of $10,000,000 from Apple.”
He went on to say, “It is plain the defendants had the necessary intent to injure Apple.. and their conduct will cause damage to them. Accordingly, I am satisfied that there is clearly a serious question to be tried for the claim of conspiracy.”
hat tip All Things D
Filed under: mobile
Apple has filed an appeal over a Chinese court’s December decision to reject a claim to the iPad name after it leveled a lawsuit against a local company in an attempt to assert control of the trademark in the region.