iPad trademark: Proview Technology hopes to use Apple as ‘get out of debt free’ card

“Proview is a contract manufacturer of flat screens that made an unsuccessful attempt almost a decade ago to market a tablet computer it called I-Pad,” Kathrin Hille and Joseph Menn report for The Financial Times. “The company registered trademarks for the IPAD name in the EU, China, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam between 2000 and 2004, trademark databases show.”

“However, in pending cases in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Apple won preliminary injunctions to stop Proview from selling off the IPAD name, according to people involved in the cases,” Hille and Menn report. “They said the courts had not yet reached the issue of ownership. Apple said it would not comment on pending litigation.”

“According to Mr Yang Rongshan, Proview’s chairman, Proview Electronics (Taiwan) agreed in 2006 to sell the ‘global trademark’ for the IPAD name to a US-registered company called IP Application Development (IPAD) for £35,000 ($55,104). Proview did not at the time suspect the company had any link with Apple,” Hille and Menn report. “However, Mr Yang claims that the trademarks for the Chinese market were not included in that agreement. These were filed in 2000 by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), another affiliate of Proview International, the group’s Hong Kong-listed holding company, rather than by the Taiwan unit.”

“A group of Chinese creditor banks seized the assets of Proview’s Shenzhen unit, including the trademarks, after the company defaulted on loans worth $400m. Mr Yang said both Proview’s shareholders and creditors were eager to see the trademarks sold at the highest possible price – but this action has been blocked by the preliminary injunctions granted after Apple and IP Application Development sued Proview,” Hille and Menn report. “Apple’s suit seeks an order requiring Proview to assign the IPAD trademarks for China to IP Application Development, pointing to the 2006 agreement. But according to online trademark databases, the ownership of the EU trademark for IPAD changed from Proview to Apple this year. Two IPAD trademarks registered in China are still shown as belonging to Proview.”

Full article here.

19 Comments

  1. “Besides that, we are in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset that could help us sort out part of that trouble.”

    Translation: We couldn’t hack it making our own tablet device so we’ll just piggyback off your success by suing you for something we already sold to you.

    F these guys. Aren’t trademarks something that need to be attached to tangible goods or services? Clearly they have none to attach it to.

  2. “Besides that, we are in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset that could help us sort out part of that trouble.”

    Translation: We couldn’t hack it making our own tablet device so we’ll just piggyback off your success by suing you for something we already sold to you.

    F these guys. Aren’t trademarks something that need to be attached to tangible goods or services? Clearly they have none to attach it to.

  3. Dear Apple, may we please move on from the silly ‘i’ fetish? You are company that boldly cuts through any stale pragmatism, why not just retire the late 90s Internet is cool branding.
    I find the Apple brand much cooler. Works great with AppleTV so why not ApplePad etc? No more silly litigations across the world and brand awareness has a singular focus.
    Thank you.

  4. Dear Apple, may we please move on from the silly ‘i’ fetish? You are company that boldly cuts through any stale pragmatism, why not just retire the late 90s Internet is cool branding.
    I find the Apple brand much cooler. Works great with AppleTV so why not ApplePad etc? No more silly litigations across the world and brand awareness has a singular focus.
    Thank you.

  5. If I were Apple and lost, I would just rename the iPads sold in China as iPods.

    Easy, cheap, and a word processor can change all the documents easily.

    Or…if you like mobility, then call them iPeds.

    Funny, yeah, but I realize it is very expensive to change trademarks on all the literature and equipment.

    Don’t think this will worry Apple very much.

  6. If I were Apple and lost, I would just rename the iPads sold in China as iPods.

    Easy, cheap, and a word processor can change all the documents easily.

    Or…if you like mobility, then call them iPeds.

    Funny, yeah, but I realize it is very expensive to change trademarks on all the literature and equipment.

    Don’t think this will worry Apple very much.

  7. @krquet

    That’s calked “branding”. Apple worked hard to identify itself and it’s products all over the world. They aren’t Microsoft. Apple isn’t going to change names every three years to be “fresh” or “hip”.

  8. @krquet

    That’s calked “branding”. Apple worked hard to identify itself and it’s products all over the world. They aren’t Microsoft. Apple isn’t going to change names every three years to be “fresh” or “hip”.

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