Originally Posted by Magic_Al
Apple used a proxy for the obvious reason that anyone would know an "i" trademark would be worth a lot more to Apple than any other company and raise the asking price. When the value of the trademark depends on the identity of the buyer and the identity is concealed, is that a fair deal?
The question is not whether the deal was fair, it is whether Apple did anything illegal. Fair implies both parties received an equally good deal. Yet, when you go buy a used car you are trying get the lowest price possible, and the seller is trying to get the most money possible. Inevitably somebody gets a better deal. A better example may be somebody who is an expert in antiquities and goes to a yard sale and finds something very valuable; conceals the value from the unknowing owner; and pays the owner of the item only a few dollars. If the owner knew the true value, he would have asked for more. That deal wasn't fair, but it was legal. When Microsoft bought DOS it paid the owner and creator of DOS $75, 000 failing to tell the guy who created it that Microsoft had a deal lined up with IBM that was going to pay it millions in licensing fees. That deal doesn't really seem fair either, but it was legal.
Anytime you sell anything you never know the buyers intent for what you sell. You have to place the value on item based on what you think it is worth based on the knowledge you possess. You have to always assume the buyer is trying to screw you on price. That is how sales work. Further, this stuff of a third party buying stuff for another party happens all the time and there is nothing wrong with it. Another company bought the property for Apple. This was to keep Apple's plans secret. When a large company buys land, it is generally also done through a third party. When celebrities buys property it often times is also done through a third party. Large companies do not want competitors knowing their plans, plain and simple. Companies and celebrities also do not want the price artificially raised. The reality is the name was worth nothing until Apple sold product using it.
Moreover, Proview likely knew the name was being bought for Apple or a larger company. There aren't too many companies that can build the type of product the buyer was claiming the name was going to be used for. Further, it is easy to verify when the company was created, and what business it has conducted. Fifty thousand dollars to pay for a defunct trademark from an almost bankrupt company was a gift. The reality is anybody could have taken the trademark once Proview closed shop. As you say Apple likes "i" in its trademarks, Proview knew that just the same as you would. Proview could have placed as a term of sale in the contract that the name not be sold to Apple if that was a concern.
Proview is taking advantage of having the home town advantage and being backed by local banks to shake down Apple. The Chinese Court system is notoriously corrupt. Apple has a lot at stake if it losses because China could stop the export of its product to places like the US.
Edited by TBell - 5/11/12 at 6:24am