Taiwanese company threatens to sue Apple over iPad name

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
A struggling Taiwanese company is threatening to sue Apple for $1.5 billion over the iPad trademark, claiming an earlier agreement to sell the "global trademark" didn't include trademark rights for the Chinese market.



Proview, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer of flat screens, says that it kept its rights to the iPad trademark in China, although it sold the "global trademark" to Apple in 2006, according to the Financial Times. Several years ago, Proview tried unsuccessfully to market an I-Pad tablet computer, but has since abandoned the project.



Chinese news site Caixin reports that the company is asking for CNY10 billion (over $1.5 billion) from Apple.



?We will sue them for damages in China and in the US,? said Proview chairman Yang Rongshan.

According to the report, trademark databases show that, between 2000 and 2004, Proview registered the iPad trademark in "the EU, China, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam." Apple purchased the U.S. iPad trademark from Fujitsu in March.



Yang says Proview Electronics (Taiwan) agreed in 2006 to sell the iPad trademark to a company called IP Application Development for $55,000, without realizing that the company was connected to Apple.



Yang asserts that the 2006 deal did not include Chinese rights to the trademark owned by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), an affiliate of Proview International, which is listed in Hong Kong.



?It is arrogant of Apple to just ignore our rights and go ahead selling the iPad in this market, and we will oppose that,? said Yang. ?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.?



For Proview Technology (Shenzhen), "big financial trouble" means defaulting on loans worth $400 million and having assets seized by a group of Chinese creditor banks.



Apple contends that the 2006 agreement should include the Chinese trademark rights and has succeeded in winning preliminary injunctions blocking Proview from selling off the iPad name, though the cases are currently pending, the report noted. According to the Financial Times, Proview is still registered as owning two iPad trademarks registered in China.



An iPad trademark dispute could complicate Apple's efforts to expand in China. The iPad officially launched in China on Sept. 17, with hundreds of buyers lining up outside Apple's retail stores. On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a Chinese Online Store with free shipping and an Chinese-language App Store that will add value to sales of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod in China.
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Comments

  • pflaupflau Posts: 6member
    I say screw them. Trademark hoarders are as bad as domain hoarders. If you aren't doing anything with the trademark you should just give it up.
  • originalgoriginalg Posts: 369member
    Apple can just drag out a lawsuit. If they're already $400 mil in the hole and can't win a substantial amount in a lawsuit, they'll be gone in no time
  • malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Or just call the iPad something else in China. Does it really matter? Would it sell any differently if the called it the iPod Slate or something in the Chinese market only?
  • rokradrokrad Posts: 143member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "We will sue them for damages in China and in the US,? said Proview chairman Yang Rongshan.



    How is it that they could sue for damages in the US if they don't have the trademark globally?
  • 2 cents2 cents Posts: 307member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malax View Post


    Or just call the iPad something else in China. Does it really matter? Would it sell any differently if the called it the iPod Slate or something in the Chinese market only?



    They'll never do that. Very un-apple like. Brand recognition and all that.
  • cylackcylack Posts: 26member
    How ironic that a Chinese company is suing a US company for alleged Intellectual Property violation/theft when their entire citizenry has no regard for US IP rights when it comes to movies, music, books, etc.
  • mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 6,750member
    Quote:

    Proview, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer of flat screens, says that it kept its rights to the iPad trademark in China, although it sold the "global trademark" to Apple in 2006, according to the Financial Times. Chinese news site Caixin reports that the company is asking for CNY10 billion (over $1.5 billion) from Apple.



    That's a contradiction in terms.



    This is dead before it started.
  • ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cylack View Post


    How ironic that a Chinese company is suing a US company for alleged Intellectual Property violation/theft when their entire citizenry has no regard for US IP rights when it comes to movies, music, books, etc.



    Indeed. But I think both actions come under the heading of "do whatever you can get away with."
  • hill60hill60 Posts: 6,949member
    If this company sold the "global rights" to the name, aren't they now in breach of contract with this claim?



    An examination of the contract could lead to this claim becoming fraudulent with associated criminal charges.
  • ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    If I missed it in the article, I apologize, but does this company actually have a damned product associated with their precious trademark? Or are they just trolling?
  • tazinlwfltazinlwfl Posts: 117member
    This is a joke. "We need money, so lets dust off this old contract and see what we can get out of it"



    I love the part about "[sold] the iPad trademark to a company called IP Application Development"... It's like taking candy from a baby...
  • ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    If this company sold the "global rights" to the name, aren't they now in breach of contract with this claim?



    An examination of the contract could lead to this claim becoming fraudulent with associated criminal charges.



    It all kind of smacks of "if we'd have known it was Apply buying the trademark, we'd have stuck it to 'em." I'm sure that, like a lot of contracts, there's a lot of weasel wording that invites misinterpretation while trying to screw the opposite signatory. You know, sell you the illusion of a thing without actually letting you have that thing. Hopefully, in this case, Apple's lawyers will be on the right side of this. Now let's just hope the Chinese courts aren't like a certain East Texas court :-\\
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    I have to at least give them credit for being so forthright-- "Man, we're totally broke and if we can jack up Apple for some money that would be awesome."



    Can't say that I really blame them, and they probably figure Apple's got enough money to pay them a fortune just to go away. OTOH, Apple knows if it takes to doing that it'll just encourage the litigates to come out of the woodwork, so they'll probably have all the principles killed as a warning to the others.
  • joshongjoshong Posts: 51member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post


    If I missed it in the article, I apologize, but does this company actually have a damned product associated with their precious trademark? Or are they just trolling?



    Good question. Just added this to the article:



    "Several years ago, Proview tried unsuccessfully to market an I-Pad tablet computer, but has since abandoned the project."
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,927member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 2 cents View Post


    They'll never do that. Very un-apple like. Brand recognition and all that.



    I thought they did have an alternate name for at least one product, but I've already forgotten what it was.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cylack View Post


    How ironic that a Chinese company is suing a US company for alleged Intellectual Property violation/theft when their entire citizenry has no regard for US IP rights when it comes to movies, music, books, etc.



    Taiwan is and isn't China (it's complicated), though they probably aren't much better about copyrights and trademarks.
  • wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malax View Post


    Or just call the iPad something else in China. Does it really matter? Would it sell any differently if the called it the iPod Slate or something in the Chinese market only?



    They can rename it as "chiPad"...
  • blueeddieblueeddie Posts: 109member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I thought they did have an alternate name for at least one product, but I've already forgotten what it was.







    Taiwan is and isn't China (it's complicated), though they probably aren't much better about copyrights and trademarks.



    actually, taiwan is much better about copyrights and trademarks than china is. Heck, you will be able to find more counterfeit items in hong kong than in taiwan. and this is also one of the main reasons why taiwanese dont consider themselves chinese.
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,927member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blueeddie View Post


    actually, taiwan is much better about copyrights and trademarks than china is. Heck, you will be able to find more counterfeit items in hong kong than in taiwan. and this is also one of the main reasons why taiwanese dont consider themselves chinese.



    That's good to hear, I must have misremembered something.
  • wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    That's good to hear, I must have misremembered something.



    Did you pull a Roger Clemens?
  • libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 973member
    How can you have a global trademark and exclude one country -- by definition it is then NOT global.
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