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

post #1 of 92
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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 ]
post #2 of 92
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.
post #3 of 92
Zealots will try and defend this no doubt - but any way you slice it, its just a bad Apple.
post #4 of 92
I fail to see what interest Proview has in the trademark, when all right, title and interest has been sold.
post #5 of 92
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.
post #6 of 92
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.
post #7 of 92
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.
post #8 of 92
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.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #9 of 92
What is Apple'sor any company in similar circumstancesobligation 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.
post #10 of 92
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.

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post #11 of 92
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.

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post #12 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdlink View Post

What is Apple'sor any company in similar circumstancesobligation 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.
post #13 of 92
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.
post #14 of 92
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.
post #15 of 92
Cry me a river. Go back to China and wine their.
post #16 of 92
"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."
post #17 of 92
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.

 

 

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post #18 of 92
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.
post #19 of 92
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.
post #20 of 92
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.
post #21 of 92
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.
post #22 of 92
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.

So are you praising Apple for being original and innovative this time?
Don't because the creative use of shell companies to obfuscate their interests wasn't something Apple invented. This time, they ARE the copyists.

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post #23 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

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.

That's Proview's argument: if we had known it was that rich and famous American company wanting to buy a trademark for a dead product that we no longer make, we would have asked for 10000x the price. They tricked us into selling it for a fair market price!

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post #24 of 92
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.

The mark is only worth more because of what Apple subsequently invested in it. Proview accepted what the mark was worth at the time. That's how agreements are made.
post #25 of 92
And this ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Robinson allegedly said that IPAD Ltd. sought the trademark because "IPAD" is an abbreviation for IP Application Development Limited. ...

... is literally the *only* part of the statements noted that could be characterised as a misrepresentation.

Note how this part is a "he said.." kind of thing also, and apparently not recorded in email or on paper as far as we know.

In other words, Proview hasn't got a hope in hell. \
post #26 of 92
I fail to see any fraud on Apple's part here. Although in this case the action was quite clever and elaborate, hiding the identity of a buyer during a commercial transaction through a third party is perfectly legal. It is not as if Proview was forced to sell its TM. They were approached by X company and a deal was done. That is a fact.

Now, all of a sudden, Proview realized it *could* have asked for an exponentially higher amount of money and is doing all it can to try and void the original transaction. Well, too bad. It is not going to and should not happen.
post #27 of 92
Darl? Darl McBride are you in there?
post #28 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post

The mark is only worth more because of what Apple subsequently invested in it. Proview accepted what the mark was worth at the time. That's how agreements are made.

As I said 'according to them' which means that what I said is their claim, not my opinion.

My opinion is that they sold all rights, they have zero claims and should go kick rocks.

The only group that might have a claim are the banks but they are better off honoring the deal Proview made despite the false pretenses given that they have stayed quiet for two years and could have forfeited any claims of ownership due to their nonprotection

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post #29 of 92
This is pure bull sh*t.
Apple has the right to change its mind about the subsidiary company.

The name was bought and paid for.

Proview should get nothing.

Proview has been paid.
post #30 of 92
I haven't enjoyed this much stupidity since Psystar.

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post #31 of 92
Fail to see any valid purpose for the California lawsuit. The transaction took place between a company incorporated in the UK and a company incorporated in Taiwan acting, at it's own admission, on behalf of it's parent company in China.
post #32 of 92
I'm pretty sure this is the same maneuver Walt Disney used to acquire the land for Walt Disney World in Florida too so that he wouldn't face artificially raised prices.
post #33 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsginc View Post

Fail to see any valid purpose for the California lawsuit. The transaction took place between a company incorporated in the UK and a company incorporated in Taiwan acting, at it's own admission, on behalf of it's parent company in China.

Proview claims it is valid because iPad ltd was Apple

Also Proview Taiwan is the parent, not China.

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post #34 of 92
These guys are hilarious! They should include their story in "Trademarks for Idiots" in the "Check the internet before you sell your trademark" section.
post #35 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Proview claims it is valid because iPad ltd was Apple

Also Proview Taiwan is the parent, not China.

Does the required two weeks refund period in Taiwan include trademark sales as well?!
post #36 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

Zealots will try and defend this no doubt - but any way you slice it, its just a bad Apple.

Thanks for providing an example of the level of intellect and the many and varied valid arguments against Apple that the anti-Apple crowd brings to the table.

Also, Blue Harvest. Proview's argument is completely invalid.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #37 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

Zealots will try and defend this no doubt - but any way you slice it, its just a bad Apple.

Point out one thing Apple did that was bad? Does the iPad somehow compete with proview? (It doesn't , not in any way at all). The core of proviews claim seems to be the guy saying it wouldn't compete. It doesn't.
post #38 of 92
Wonder why they didn't file in East Texas.
post #39 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I haven't enjoyed this much stupidity since Psystar.

+1 on that.
post #40 of 92
Companies do this all the time, Disney used shell companies to purchase the land in Florida, otherwise the price get's jacked up, which they would have done if they had known it was Apple. It sounds like a fair price was agreed upon, no reason that price should change because it was Apple at the table.
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