Proview speaks out on US suit, accuses Apple of fraud & unfair competition

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014


Proview on Monday announced that it has amended its California lawsuit against Apple over its use of the "iPad" moniker, accusing the company of multiple instances of fraud and unfair competition.



Though based in China, Proview announced its amended lawsuit in a press release issued Monday by New York-based public relations firm Powell Tate. Allegations lodged in the U.S. complaint against Apple include fraud by intentional misrepresentation, fraud by concealment, fraudulent inducement, and unfair competition.



"The complaint provides evidence that the December 23, 2009 agreement that Proview Taiwan entered into was fraudulently induced by the concealment and suppression of material facts by Apple's agents, and that, as a result, the 2009 agreement is void," the press release states. "Once the agreement is voided for fraud, the iPad trademarks in the European Union, South Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam will revert back to Proview Taiwan."



The U.S. complaint alleges that Apple was "pressed for time" when it negotiated to buy the necessary trademarks for the "IPAD" name owned by Proview. It also states that Apple was "predisposed to deception" in dealing with Proview because Apple knew that Proview opposed its use of "similar trademarks."



"To further this deception, Apple used an intermediary, Farncombe International and its Managing Director, Graham Robinson, to create an elaborate but false pretext for the purchase of Proview's IPAD trademarks," the statement reads. "Apple created a special purpose company named IP Application Development Limited ("IPAD Ltd."), then concealed the fact that this company was acting as an agent of Apple.



"Graham Robinson further concealed Apple's involvement by adopting a false alias, Jonathan Hargreaves, which he used when negotiating with Proview."



The complaint also alleges that Robinson and Apple intentionally misled Proview regarding the "IPAD Ltd." business and its intended use of the trademark. Robinson allegedly said that IPAD Ltd. sought the trademark because "IPAD" is an abbreviation for IP Application Development Limited.



Robinson is also accused of evading questions from Proview as to the nature of IPAD Ltd.'s business, only offering that it was "a newly formed company."



"I'm sure you can understand that we are not ready to publicize what the company's business is, since we have not yet made any public announcements," Robinson is alleged to have said. "As I said in my last message, I can assure you that the company will not compete with Proview."











Earlier Monday, a report from Reuters quoted experts who said Apple's secretive tactics could be a disadvantage for the company when defending itself from Proview's complaints. New Yorkbased trademark attorney Martin Scwhimmer said Apple's approach was a "level of ruse" he has "never encountered."



But other experts believe Apple could counter Proview's claims by arguing that the Chinese trademark holder cannot sue Apple directly. They believe that the court could find that Proview can only file suit against IPAD Ltd., Apple's special purpose corporation which actually bought the trademarks.



Proview's latest action is an amendment to the complaint it originally filed against Apple in a California court on Feb. 17. The company seeks to bar sales of Apple's iPad touchscreen tablet.



Apple has countered that it legally bought the rights to the iPad name, and Proview is not honoring its end of the deal. Last week, a Shanghai court sided with Apple and has allowed sales of the iPad to continue in that city.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,096member
    Proview: We were so stupid not to ask follow-up questions when we did not get the answers we wanted from the original inquiry. Please Court, help us correct our stupid mistakes after-the-fact.
  • rainrain Posts: 538member
    Zealots will try and defend this no doubt - but any way you slice it, its just a bad Apple.
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,099member
    I fail to see what interest Proview has in the trademark, when all right, title and interest has been sold.
  • mj webmj web Posts: 872member
    New York based trademark attorney Martin Scwhimmer said Apple's approach was a "level of ruse" he has "never encountered."



    Have to agree with Mr. Schwimmer here... Though I find Apple's penchant for Hollywood style derring do amusing, if true Apple's little charade strikes me as downright deceptive.
  • rainrain Posts: 538member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


    Proview: We were so stupid not to ask follow-up questions when we did not get the answers we wanted from the original inquiry. Please Court, help us correct our stupid mistakes after-the-fact.



    It was an elaborate hoax on Apples part.
  • rob55rob55 Posts: 1,184member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post


    Have to agree with Mr. Schwimmer here... Though I find Apple's penchant for Hollywood style derring do amusing, if true Apple's little charade strikes me as downright deceptive.



    Well of course it was. They didn't want to be taken to the cleaners over the price of the trademark. Everyone does it and it's perfectly legal.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post


    New York based trademark attorney Martin Scwhimmer said Apple's approach was a "level of ruse" he has "never encountered."



    Have to agree with Mr. Schwimmer here... Though I find Apple's penchant for Hollywood style derring do amusing, if true Apple's little charade strikes me as downright deceptive.



    Mr. Scwhimmer is going to be the laughing stock of the entire intellectual property arena. This practice is very common and happens all the time. I've done it myself - on a much, much smaller scale.
  • jdlinkjdlink Posts: 50member
    What is Apple's?or any company in similar circumstances?obligation to tell what they really intend to do with a trademark. Obviously the TM was of no further use to Proview. It's apparent they just want more money now they know what they freely sold is used for.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,069member
    Proview accuses Apple of fraud when apparently they didn't mention their bankruptcy which was not public knowledge at the time and perhaps means that they didn't have the right to make the deal they made. Further if they didn't have the rights of ownership then they might not have the rights to have even filed these suits since they don't 'own' the trademark they are trying to protect



    Proview didn't bother to do any research on the company that approached them given that they didn't see the countless rumors that the company might be a front for Apple.



    Proview didn't do jack about this 'false' sale when the product was announced two years ago. Neither did the banks.



    Proview hadn't had a product on any market that used the mark and thus could have lost ownership on that basis if Apple had wanted to press it. And given that they were in bankruptcy they wouldn't have had the funds to really fight that contention.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,069member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    I fail to see what interest Proview has in the trademark, when all right, title and interest has been sold.



    Because according to them they were taken by the fraud and the mark is worth much more than they were tricked into taking for it. So the sale should be voided as unfair so they can demand more money.



    I say let them have it. And Apple simply refuse to change the product name and thus refuse to sell in those areas. and when the various countries refuse to block smugglers from bringing in the product to sell themselves, sue etc



    Oh and move all iPad production out of China. Foxconn does have factories in Brazil etc. Let them have the iPad.
  • greginpraguegreginprague Posts: 415member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jdlink View Post


    What is Apple's?or any company in similar circumstances?obligation to tell what they really intend to do with a trademark. Obviously the TM was of no further use to Proview. It's apparent they just want more money now they know what they freely sold is used for.



    Proview could have written the contract to say that the buyer wasn't allowed to use the trademark to compete against them. But, they didn't write the contract that way. If that had been their concern they should have had better lawyers/contract writers before the sale rather than now.
  • bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member
    This happens all of the time. Shell companies are often used when they want to make a purchase. They want to protect themselves from being gauged which is precisely what Proview is attempting to do after the fact. Sometimes it is done for secrecy reasons as well.



    The reality is there is no real value in the iPad name if it wasn't for the success of Apple's hard work in developing a great product. Proview had no hand in that, they just want a quick and easy pay-day ? just like they did when they attempted to copy the original iMac and failed.



    At the end of the day Proview is crying because they didn't get to gauge Apple in their original negotiation, so they want to after the fact.



    I wouldn't want everyone looking at my income before deciding what to charge me. That's crazy talk.
  • mkbrogersmkbrogers Posts: 1member
    So in China Proview says that they don't have an agreement - but in the US they say they do have an agreement ?? Which is it going to be ?

    Seems they just lost their own argument in one country or another.
  • theoldcoottheoldcoot Posts: 14member
    Cry me a river. Go back to China and wine their.
  • pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    "Your honor, what Apple did isn't fair because if we knew it was Apple we would have asked for a lot more. Oh, and pay no heed to the fact that we ourselves committed fraud by implying one subsidiary company had the rights to sell the trademark, taking the money, and then revealing that the trademark belongs to a different subsidiary. Oh and that we never mentioned we were in bankruptcy and may not even have had the right to sell the mark. Your honor."
  • emig647emig647 Posts: 2,345member
    I've had this happen to me. Yahoo used a disguise company to purchase a domain from me. I could have got much more, but you know what? That's how the cookie crumbles. If it was worth more to me, no matter who wanted it, I would have requested a higher number, no matter who is on the other end.
  • rob55rob55 Posts: 1,184member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mkbrogers View Post


    So in China Proview says that they don't have an agreement - but in the US they say they do have an agreement ?? Which is it going to be ?

    Seems they just lost their own argument in one country or another.



    Sounds like desperation. It seems to me like they know their case is weak in China and are coming out with all guns blazing, hoping they'll hit something. The fact that they're trying to invalidate the previous "purchase" of the trademark is like validation in and of itself.
  • bullheadbullhead Posts: 492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    Because according to them they were taken by the fraud and the mark is worth much more than they were tricked into taking for it. So the sale should be voided as unfair so they can demand more money.



    I say let them have it. And Apple simply refuse to change the product name and thus refuse to sell in those areas. and when the various countries refuse to block smugglers from bringing in the product to sell themselves, sue etc



    Oh and move all iPad production out of China. Foxconn does have factories in Brazil etc. Let them have the iPad.



    there is very liberal use of the term "fraud" in this thread. Proview is butthurt because they need money and sold their claim on 'ipad' for cheaper than they could have gotten had they known Apple was on the recieving end. As has been said, there is nothing illegal about what Apple did. And other companies do this sort of thing all the time. Proview did not do its homework and got took to the cleaners. Deal is done. Sorry Proview, you lose.
  • talkingnewmediatalkingnewmedia Posts: 78member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theoldcoot View Post


    Cry me a river. Go back to China and wine their.



    But in only in moderation, and don't operate heavy equipment.
  • bullheadbullhead Posts: 492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post


    Sounds like desperation. It seems to me like they know their case is weak in China and are coming out with all guns blazing, hoping they'll hit something. The fact that they're trying to invalidate the previous "purchase" of the trademark is like validation in and of itself.



    I know. they insist it was never sold, yet are trying to invalidate the sale. LOL. they are so desperate you can smell it.
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