China may intervene in iPad trademark dispute

“Chinese officials face a choice in Apple’s dispute with a local company over the iPad trademark — side with a struggling entity that a court says owns the name or with a global brand that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in China,” Joe McDonald reports for The Associated Press. “Experts say that means Beijing’s political priorities rather than the courts will settle the dispute if it escalates.”

“The dispute centers on whether Apple acquired the iPad name in China when it bought rights in various countries from a Proview affiliate in Taiwan in 2009 for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000),” McDonald reports. “Apple insists it did. But Proview, which registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, won a ruling from a mainland Chinese court in December that it was not bound by that sale. Apple appealed. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 29.”

McDonald reports, “‘If this becomes political — and it’s very easy to see this becoming political — then I think Apple’s chances look pretty good,’ said Stan Abrams, an American lawyer who teaches intellectual property law at Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Hong Kong Judge sides with Apple over Proview – February 17, 2012
Take a look at some of Apple’s evidence in Proview iPad trademark dispute – February 16, 2012

18 Comments

  1. Hong Kong court judge already ruled that Proview did not properly file the trademark iPad over to Apple when Apple in fact did pay for the rights. Proview is in violation and Apple has already won this case. It’s done already.

    1. The HK court decision irrelevant when dealing with the mainland.

      The original agreement lists China as a region where the trademark being transferred covered. Filed in HK, fine, an HK court found in favour of Apple.

      But for the 3rd time in two days:

      Hong. Kong. Is. Not. China.

      HK is a special admin region of China, with distinct laws and regulations. It might as well rule that human rights violations are occurring in the mainland and require local authorities to cease and desist, China will do jack shit about it.

      1. The Paper work was released on the net, the owner of Proview and the sub are the same, his signature shows proof that he is trying to extort money from Apple.

        You can Argue all you want but Apple Owns the name it shows the owner in agreement, the same man owns both company’s.

        Apples got the owned lock stock and barrel.

        Both Company’s again are owned by the Same man, get it now.

        Check out the information yourself, here’s the link:

        http://allthingsd.com/20120216/take-a-look-at-some-of-apples-evidence-in-proview-ipad-dispute/

      2. This is not about the definition of China, whether Taiwan or HK are included. The documents that the WSJ posted clearly show that the contract states that ProView is conveying ALL of its rights in all territories to Apple, that the trademark is UNENCUMBERED in any of those locales and that the subsidiary that sold the trademarks is the rightful owner and can do so.

        ProView erred when they stated that the trademarks were all registered by their Taiwan affiliate. It turns out that the Shenzhen affiliate had registered the China trademarks. This is simple, ProView’s contract requires them to make the correction and convey the trademarks to Apple. No ifs, ands or buts.

        ProView should not benefit from their error. They either made a mistake or lied in the original contract. If they want to bar Apple in the Chinese courts, Apple can sue ProView in HK or Taiwan for compensation. They are going to lose big time. Their hope is that the nuisance that they’ve become will force Apple to give them $10M to go away, but this is about the principle, so Apple will fight it.

  2. I really wish MDN would not repeat these sort articles that show no lateral thinking ability at all. They just create a storm in a teacup.
    The Chinese, through either direct intervention, the courts and pressure from Foxconn, will have to bow to common sense. There is no way, I think, that the government(if that’s not an oxymoron) can maintain a hands off approach since all industry in China is in hock to their national banks who are printing money to create the worlds biggest manufacturing superpower. They have to keep the exports going, they have no choice. They have to keep their populace employed and their premier industries in business unless they are intent on mutually assured destruction lead by revolting workers and raging deflation. China will probably use this to extract some small concessions from Apple and the problem will disappear.
    Why do people think Apple has suddenly lost the influence built up over many years of careful bargaining to be in their present position? Apple are up front and central to millions of China’s aspirational middle class. It makes no sense.

  3. the easy assumption is that the chinese govt. will intervene in apples favor, which it may well do.

    but that opens up and entirely new can of worms for apple. i cannot imagine that the chinese govt. will pass on this unparalleled opportunity to press apple, quite hard for all kinds of concessions in exchange for its political pressure and resolution.

    this could get to be a very sticky wicket for apple, i hope they have the nerve and integrity not to bow to chinese demands – like google did a few years ago.

  4. Apparently the writer of this article has not seen the documents that Apple has produced showing it’s ownership of the name.

    Hopefully the appeal will straighten this out and get rid of Proview’s claim.

    It would be best if China did not piss Apple off.

  5. It boils down to: Is Taiwan part of China or not? The Chinese Gov’t position is yes, the Taiwan Gov’t position is maybe, but we’re thinking about seceding. The rogue court in Proviews home town is playing for the home team (kind of like the Eastern District of Texas in the US, except they side with anyone with a lawyer). The national gov’t has a different perspective. Expect the national gov’t to prevail.

  6. I am amazed at how many Chinese judges took the time to write on an MDN blog to clarify what they will do in this matter. Also, more astounding is how many Chinese politicians will follow the sentiments stated by so many MDN blog respondents.

    Oh wait, I just realized, none of you know what you are talking about and the ‘facts’ you state are just your ill formed opinions based on ‘what someone else said’ on the internet.

    1. But but but… the internet always routes around misinformation! Let everyone speak and the truth will always rise to the surface! The internet will be the magical elixir which at last abolishes tyranny and ignorance, and ushers in a new golden age of tolerance, understanding, and information freedom!

      …and if you believe that, there’s a large sum of unclaimed money and a Nigerian prince who needs access to your bank account. 😉

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