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Proview sues Apple over 'iPad' moniker in U.S.

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
In a surprising turn, a previously unreported court filing reveals that Chinese company Proview is suing Apple over the 'iPad' trademark in a California court, further convoluting the protracted fracas.

The finding, reported on Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, comes on the heels of an announcement from Proview's lawyer Xie Xianghui that the two companies were reportedly ready to negotiate.

Proview filed the suit against Apple in the Superior Court of the State of California in Santa Clara County on Feb. 17, almost one week prior to Xie's claims made on Tuesday. The company made no previous mention of the U.S. complaint.

In the filing, the Shenzhen-based display manufacturer asserts that Apple committed fraud by purchasing the "iPad" name through a proxy company set up by one of the iPhone maker's law firms.

Proview Shenzhen claims that Apple acted "with oppression, fraud and/or malice," when it used U.K.-based IP Application Development, Ltd. to buy the rights from a Taiwanese affiliate in 2009 for a reported 35,000 British pounds, or $55,000.

The U.S. suit differs from its Chinese counterparts that claim the purchase to be void because Proview Shenzhen didn't authorize its affiliate to sell the trademark.

The Hong Kong-based umbrella company for the Chinese firm, Proview International Holdings, alleges that it had no knowledge of the sale despite Apple's assertions to the contrary.

It is not clear if the U.S. claim will affect the outcome of a pending Chinese court case, though it seems that the California filing is an admission that Proview was indeed aware of the trademark's sale.

Apple continues to claim that it rightfully purchased the rights, and has threatened to level a defamation countersuit against the bankrupt Chinese company over the matter.

It was announced earlier today that Proview was unsuccessful in blocking sales of Apple's popular tablet in Shanghai, one of China's most affluent cities.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 49
Yeah, good luck. proview is doomed.
post #3 of 49
yeah, good luck with that, Proview.
post #4 of 49
They're already bankrupt. The only outcome out of this will be that they will become even more bankrupt, because they're wasting their money.
post #5 of 49
Why would it be fraud to try to buy the trademark indirectly?
post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Why would it be fraud to try to buy the trademark indirectly?

It's not fraud.

ProView is just pissed off at their missed opportunity.
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

It's not fraud.

ProView is just pissed off at their missed opportunity.

Not only is it not fraud, but it's good business. People do it all the time and it's 100% legal.


ETA:

They have no grounds to sue Apple, anyway. Their transaction was with the British company and that's the one they'd have to sue - even if there were grounds. US Courts do not have jurisdiction because Apple was not the party to the transaction involving Proview and Apple will get this thrown out quickly.
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post #8 of 49
Why does preview even care unless ... unless Apple DOES own the iPad name now?.

Bunch of whiners. They're officially whining that they sold too low. That's an admission of guilt as far as I'm concerned!!
post #9 of 49
Oh yea, and they just remembered about this 2 years later after they are bankrupted. Good luck with that.
post #10 of 49
It is definitely time for tort reform here in the USA along the lines of that in Great Britain. As I understand it, If a suit is found to be capricious and completely without merit, the plaintiff pays ALL costs involved in that case. Sounds to me as though Proview might be sweating bullets in such an event.
post #11 of 49
Hail Mary
post #12 of 49
The U.S. suit weakens the Chinese one by not claiming the same problem(s) as the Chinese suit.

That is, by omitting the claim that Proview's affiliate wasn't authorized to sell the trademark, the U.S. suit would appear to accept that the trademark was legally sold (even if deceptively via proxy).

Meanwhile, the Chinese suit doesn't complain about the proxy purchase, something Apple could claim in U.S. court Proview would have included in its Chinese suit if the proxy really was a problem.

Proview is chopping itself off at the knees with these overreaches. It will be fun to watch them go down in flames.
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Why does preview even care unless ... Apple DOES own the iPad name now.

Bunch of whiners. They're officially whining that they sold too low. That's an admission of guilt as far as I'm concerned!!

This is how the game of "King of the Mountain" is played. If you're the King everyone is trying to take you down. In political campaigns it's the same. Don't be the frontrunner until absolutely necessary. Apple's use of a UK company was smart cover for the King. They got the rights at a bargain basement price, and now ProView is trying to redo history. It ain't going to happen though. Lawyers always go after the King of the Mountain because that's where the money is, but that doesn't mean they'll win the game.
post #14 of 49
Lawsuit summary: "If we had known you were Apple, we would have asked for a lot more."

Welcome to the world of business, Proview! Sorry you sucked at it.
post #15 of 49
Lawsuits takes money. It looks like Proview still has some greedy, naive supporters.
post #16 of 49
For a Bankrupt company, they sure have a lot of money to toss at lawyers! I wonder if these lawyers really think they are really going to get paid. Proview makes cheap clones of an Apple designed iMac of the early 2000's. Apple should counter sue for that in the U.S. courts and make sure they go fully bankrupt with no money for there lawyers to continue, end of story, end of Proview.
post #17 of 49
Also... Proview? Could there be a more generic, stereotypical name for a company? Sounds like a fly-by-night to me. Pirates.
post #18 of 49
Apple should win all these Proview lawsuits. This is all so ridiculous and getting even more so every day.

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post #19 of 49
Not concerned in the least with this act of desperation. Really pitiful.

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post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

It is definitely time for tort reform here in the USA along the lines of that in Great Britain. As I understand it, If a suit is found to be capricious and completely without merit, the plaintiff pays ALL costs involved in that case. Sounds to me as though Proview might be sweating bullets in such an event.

That can actually happen in certain states in the US, already. Granted it's rare. But it is on the books in some places.

ETA: I believe that federal suits are also subject to this.
post #21 of 49
Those Proview executives have especially big balls.
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post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Why would it be fraud to try to buy the trademark indirectly?

Proview is claiming that they were tricked into underselling the trademark because they weren't being told that it was really Apple buying it (i.e. had they know it was Apple they would have demanded much more money and they are mad that they lost that chance).

Trouble is that it is entirely possible that it isn't illegal to use a proxy company for such purposes and thus while it is perhaps a little tacky it wouldn't be something that would invalidate the sale. ESPECIALLY when they would have been aware of the 'bait and switch' 2 years ago when the iPad was announced and didn't bother to do anything about it at that time. Under US law they didn't try to defend the trademark against abuse and that combined with the fact that they did indeed sell the mark and are admitting it (perhaps also admitting that they did sell China as well) kind of blows their case to pieces in terms of getting sympathy from the courts as this will be seen as clearly just trying to get more money as the Hong Kong courts saw it

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post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

US Courts do not have jurisdiction because Apple was not the party to the transaction involving Proview and Apple will get this thrown out quickly.

According to Proview's arguments that is not true.

They are claiming that IP Application Development was set up by Apple for this sale with the specific intent to get Proview to sell the mark at less than its value.

And if one goes with that argument then Apple is involved and the US would be a valid jurisdiction to hear the case

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post #24 of 49
Psystar moved to China, but their name in Mandarin characters came out as an obsenity so they changed their name to Proview! </sarcasm>... wouldn't want to be sued by them for a light hearted post!
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post #25 of 49
LOL. DESPERATION SETS IN AT PROVIEW.

First they called it a mistake, now they're calling it fraud? Good luck winning with that argument in U.S. courts.
It's not "fraud" at all to use proxy companies, unless you're asserting that the "fair" price for the trademark depended on how deep the pockets of the buyer is. That's Proview's position: we didn't get our king's ransom over the iPAD trademark because we didn't know it was Apple. Companies use proxy companies to get a fair market price when using their own brand would result in exactly what Proview is trying to pull.

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post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

According to Proview's arguments that is not true.

They are claiming that IP Application Development was set up by Apple for this sale with the specific intent to get Proview to sell the mark at less than its value.

And if one goes with that argument then Apple is involved and the US would be a valid jurisdiction to hear the case

The buyer sets the value and Proview set the value at $55,000. Plus the iPad could have been a huge flop and disappeared quickly.

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post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

They are claiming that IP Application Development was set up by Apple for this sale with the specific intent to get Proview to sell the mark at less than its value.

The value of the trademark is whatever the buyer and seller agreed to.
All this BS about subsidiary's rights over China or now Apple's use of proxy companies is just a poorly disguised case sellers remorse. And no, I don't think their endgame is to win a lawsuit, but to get Apple to give them settlement money.

The bottom line is: these douchers sold their trademark, and now they want to up the price after the sale. It's a scam.

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post #28 of 49
There is one other valid reason for apple to buy the trademark through a proxy company - secrecy. Why would any company want to let anyone know they were going to release a new type of product before the official product announcement? Apple wouldn't want to reveal its intentions of a new product line, so as to keep ahead of the competition, and the name "iPad" would reveal a basic nature of the yet unannounced product. You just don't want somebody to blab, "Hey guys, did you hear apple just bought the trademark 'iPad', wonder what's up with that?"

Not saying they didn't use a go-between to save money, just that there's other considerations as well.

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post #29 of 49
I'm just wondering if you have the rights to a name that starts with iAnything and somebody wants to buy it, why don't you start thinking this could be Apple? Not that I'm saying that this should influence the price, but it would be stupid to sell at a bargain.
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post #30 of 49
Hey dumb dumb, why sue Apple only over iPad when there is one other company, Fijitsu, using this name on one of their handheld product!

http://search.yahoo.com/tablet/s?ei=.../s/tab/piv-001
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post #31 of 49
Apple's hardware has made the iPad name famous not the other way around.

Remember how everybody started calling the tablets Slate PC when they thought that Apple was going to use the name iSlate. That name would have been famous as well if it had been used.

This US case was probably taken on contingency. Some ambulance chasers will try anything for a buck.
post #32 of 49
Apple's hardware has made the iPad name famous not the other way around.

Remember how everybody started calling their tablets "Slate PC" when they thought that Apple was going to use the name iSlate because it held the Trademark? Where are the "Slate PCs" now? iSlate's name would have been famous as well if it had been used and the iPad name would still be worth about what Apple paid for it if anything.

This US case was probably taken on contingency. Some ambulance chasers will try anything for a buck.
post #33 of 49
Is there a Chinese phrase for 'grasping at straws'?
post #34 of 49
I absolutely hated the name iPad when Steve announced it, but today it rolls off the tongue as easily as iPod or iTunes. When Proview sold the name, they got a lot more than it was worth at the time.
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Grain of Salt View Post

Hail Mary

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post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

According to Proview's arguments that is not true.

They are claiming that IP Application Development was set up by Apple for this sale with the specific intent to get Proview to sell the mark at less than its value.

And if one goes with that argument then Apple is involved and the US would be a valid jurisdiction to hear the case

They can claim whatever they want. Legally, that argument holds no merit.

The fact that Apple created a subsidiary is irrelevant. The transaction was done by a British company and was done either in the UK or in Asia. The need a lot stronger argument than that to pierce the corporate veil.
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post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

Lawsuits takes money. It looks like Proview still has some greedy, naive supporters.

They have powerful creditors trying to recover money in Bank of China.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiced View Post

Hey dumb dumb, why sue Apple only over iPad when there is one other company, Fijitsu, using this name on one of their handheld product!

http://search.yahoo.com/tablet/s?ei=.../s/tab/piv-001

And Apple bought Fujitsu's rights to the name. Presumably there was no overlap in countries for the trademark.
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

According to Proview's arguments that is not true.

They are claiming that IP Application Development was set up by Apple for this sale with the specific intent to get Proview to sell the mark at less than its value.

And if one goes with that argument then Apple is involved and the US would be a valid jurisdiction to hear the case


That is my understanding of this case as well. I still believe Proview has no case here in the U.S. regardless of whether Apple created IP Application Development. However, I do find it interesting that the initials for IP Application Development are IPAD. Either Apple owns IP Application Development or it is simply coincidental that Apple chose a company to procure the iPad name that bears the initials IPAD.
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manictosh View Post

That is my understanding of this case as well. I still believe Proview has no case here in the U.S. regardless of whether Apple created IP Application Development. However, I do find it interesting that the initials for IP Application Development are IPAD. Either Apple owns IP Application Development or it is simply coincidental that Apple chose a company to procure the iPad name that bears the initials IPAD.

I suspect that there is much that has not yet been disclosed by both parties. By way of illustration- does any one know why apple didn't sue Proview for continuing to sell their iPad in China if Apple believed that they owned the rights to the name?
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