Proview to seek $1.5 billion from Apple in Chinese iPad trademark lawsuit

“Apple has been denied the rights to the trademark for the term ‘iPad’ in China, after a legal battle with Hong Kong-based Proview Technology. Proview registered the iPad trademark in markets as early as 2000, long before Apple unveiled the iPad in 2006,” Deng Jingyin reports for The Global Times.

“Lawyers representing Proview confirmed with the Global Times that they have urged the administration several times to make a final decision about Apple’s penalty,” Deng Jingyin reports. “‘Proview made a formal complaint to the Xicheng administration in 2011 and they had planned to slap Apple with a 240 million yuan ($38 million) fine, but it was suspended after Apple’s objections,’ said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer from the Shenzhen branch of Grandall Law Firm.”

“According to Xie, besides requesting related government departments investigate Apple’s trademark infringement, they have also filed lawsuits against Apple’s authorized retailers and stores in local courts,” Deng Jingyin reports. “Proview plans to ask for 10 billion yuan [US$1.59 billion] in compensation from Apple, said Xie.”

“However, the Xicheng district administration said they had never announced the possibility of a 240 million yuan fine for Apple,” Deng Jingyin reports. “‘It is still under investigation, so no official comments on the case can be made yet,’ a media officer at the publicity office of the administration told The Global Times.”

Read more in the full article here.

Yang Jie reports for The Wall Street Journal, “Ma Dongxiao, an attorney who represents Proview, said the company applied on Monday for a temporary restraining order in Shanghai’s Pudong People’s Court. A decision is supposed to come within 48 hours, he said, ‘but in common practice it usually takes longer. So now I have no idea when we could hear from the court.'”

“The legal action might be a rare example of a legal dispute in which the Chinese company doesn’t get popular backing in its dispute with a Western rival. China has taken to Apple’s products strongly over the past to years, to the point of scuffles in front of Apple stores,” Yang Jie reports. “Late company co-founder Steve Jobs is lauded as an innovator and an example to young entrepreneurs in a country known more for copying than for new ideas.”

Yang Jie reports, “‘I understand even lots of Chinese people think our company is playing dirty here or trying to blackmail Apple,’ Yang Rongshan, chairman of the Proview arm in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said. ‘But we are doing everything completely under the laws and rules, if people understand the whole process of this matter. There has been so much misunderstanding about us, but we would continue to sue until we win what we deserve.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Proview deserves nothing but scorn.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple appeals rejection of iPad trademark in China – January 31, 2012
Apple not allowed to call an iPad an iPad in China, court rules – December 7, 2011
Chinese court rejects Apple lawsuit over iPad trademark – December 6, 2011
iPad trademark: Proview Technology hopes to use Apple as ‘get out of debt free’ card – October 28, 2010
Chinese company claims Apple violating iPad trademark – October 27, 2010
Apple secures iPad trademark from Fujitsu – March 28, 2010

27 Comments

  1. “MacDailyNews Take: Proview deserves nothing but scorn.” Why? Did not Proview have legal claim in China to the name iPad years before the iPad was released? It’s payday.

    1. Uhm, Proview’s parent in Taiwan sold the rights to the iPad trade name to Apple. The dispute is whether Proview reserved rights to the name in China, and didn’t sell the name in all geographies. As the Chairman of Proview notes, many, including many Chinese, believe this was “playing dirty”.

      1. Ambiguity in a contract goes in favor of the buyer. If the contract did not reserve rights to the name in specific areas, then all rights to the name were sold. If the parent company did not have the authority to sell the name in the first place, the go after them.

        The $1.59B is a joke. It is just gamesmanship. Apple may eventually pay Proview in a settlement, but the figure will be $M, not $B.

  2. Opportunistic assholes. Since when is a name worth billions? How can a name marketed and registered all over the world be held up by a single company not even using the name? There ought to be a law. It’s like Internet squatters holding ransom to website names.

  3. Sue for a name, not a product. They have no product! This is where i think patent laws need to be changed. If you don’t have a real product fir sale, you should not be allowed to apply for a patent. And certainly not sue for only a name.

  4. “Yang Jie reports, “‘I understand even lots of Chinese people think our company is playing dirty here or trying to blackmail Apple,’ Yang Rongshan, chairman of the Proview arm in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said. ‘But we are doing everything completely under the laws and rules”

    Yep, so playing “dirty” is presumably legal to the chairman of Proview.

    1. Unfortunately if playing dirty is still legal in this case, then yes as a corporation they’re within their rights to do this.

      Scorn the company for its tactics, but blame the laws for letting it happen.

  5. This raises the issue with iTV as a commonly used name for the (possible) Apple TV. ITV is the independent commercial television group in the UK, and has been for decades. In fact, people refer to programmes being on BBC or ITV here, as well as on the specific channels.
    I can’t see any way that Apple can get around this, they will need to find an alternative name.

    1. Even here in the states when I pull up my menu on Comcast there is an option for iTV where the “i” stands for interactive. This is where you can set caller ID to show up on your television.

      I have also heard of someone else using iTV but I can’t remember who that was. However, money talks and Apple has boatloads of it. Apple will just offer a few dollars and the name will become theirs.

    1. What a totally ignorant tool you are. Your unqualified declaration has no basis in fact. Apple has been regularly winning its civil motions in federal court, as well as its claims in front of the ITC, against the likes of HTC and Samsung. In fact, its only recent US setback was against an American company, Motorola.

      Moron.

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