Chinese customs officials say import, export ban on iPad would be 'difficult'

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 63
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    how does "bought pin 10 countries" = "worldwide"



    aren't there more than 10 countries in the world?



    or are there only 10 that matter? or only 10 that have anything that resembles copyright laws?
  • Reply 22 of 63
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    I didn't see a mention anywhere of a preliminary injunction that would justify a seizure of assets. Also, I don't know if there are any iPads to ban from importing, as the iPad is assembled in the country. That said, I don't know how Chinese law works.
  • Reply 23 of 63
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    how does "bought pin 10 countries" = "worldwide"



    aren't there more than 10 countries in the world?



    or are there only 10 that matter? or only 10 that have anything that resembles copyright laws?



    It's only mean Proview has right in 10 countries, I guess.
  • Reply 24 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djsherly View Post


    If that's the case, then Apple hold as much ownership over the trademark than the party who sold it to them. Nemo dat and all that jazz.



    True - but I am not sure Nemo dat applies in this case. I would expect that Apple negotiated with the HK headquarters of Proview. I don't know the facts of the case in so much detail, but it is very likely that the Shenzhen subsidiary folds up into the HK parent. It would be ridiculous to apply Nemo dat in such circumstances!



    Quote:

    Really the onus would be on apple to sue the first party for perpetuating a fraud.



    As for all the people baying for an immediate pull out from china. Kiss goodbye your iPads for a good twelve months whilst the manufacturing capacity comes online elsewhere. Apple won't do that.



    Again - this would make sense if the parent and the subsidiary were unrelated entities. But in this case, it is ridiculous.



    In all likelihood, some unknown subsidiary of Apple negotiated with Proview Head Quarters for the rights to the iPad name in 10 countries. Not knowing that Apple was the final beneficiary, Proview must have sold it to them for a song. Especially a company that is financial trouble could easily have wanted to lay their hands on any money coming in.



    Now when they realized that they sold it to Apple, they are trying to somehow extort a higher price.



    I think more than anything else, it is China's policies and its legal systems that are on trial here. At the end of the day, this will not impact Apple. Apple will pay if it has to, and most likely the payment will not be material to Apple anyway.



    But for China, this is a totally different matter. They have a lot to lose.
  • Reply 25 of 63
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ?We bought Proview?s world-wide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,? Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said this week. ?Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China.?



    Proview has responded with a complicated argument asserting that a subsidiary in Shenzhen owned the China rights and was not present at the negotiations.



    Subsidiaries do not need to be at the negotiations. As long as the parent company owns controlling interest in the subsidiary, the parent company can make decisions like this.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tofino View Post


    Just change the name. Not that big of deal.







    Which would be foolish and expensive. Apple's global brand recognition is sky high and this would damage it. Furthermore, it would open the door for more fraudulent complaints against Apple.



    Apple will probably want to wipe the floor with these people to set an example.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blursd View Post


    Notice the reasoning here. "We probably won't do it because it would be 'too difficult.'" Not "We won't do it because it complete bull@#$%."



    That's the Chinese culture. The Chinese rarely say 'no flipping way'. No matter how much they are opposed to an idea, the response is usually 'that would be difficult'. The remarks suggest that Proview's complaints don't really carry much weight with the Customs office.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blursd View Post


    Proview claims they hold the trademark to the iPad name in China ... great. Apple owns the trademark everywhere else, so there's nothing illegal about producing iPads in China and exporting them to countries where Apple does own the trademark (this is sidestepping the issue of whether or not Proview actually has a legitimate claim to the China trademark of the term "iPad").



    Absolutely true. Refusing to export them would be a violation of world trade laws.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blursd View Post


    If China were to ban the exportation of all iPads from the country over a domestic trademark dispute the backlash would be devastating. EVERY foreign company that has production in China would immediately start looking for alternate production facilities in friendly countries - which is a MAJOR source of China's economy and growth.



    China is ballsy when it come to stealing intellectual property and technology, but they're not suicidal - banning the exportation of the iPad would bring the world down on China, and China doesn't like being in the unfavorable spotlight.



    Agree 100%.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macarena View Post


    It very much looks like one subsidiary of Proview sold the rights to Apple, when the rights were owned by another subsidiary of Proview.



    In such a scenario, it seems logical that the 2 subsidiaries of Proview should slug it out in court - and maybe one of the subsidiaries owes a lot of money to the other. But that would really be left hand paying right hand - at a time when both hands are poor!



    That's not quite what happened - at least according to the above report. Apple bought the rights from the parent company, but the parent company is now trying to back out because one subsidiary was not present. That argument isn't going to fly. That would be like GE backing out of a huge engine deal with Boeing because some tiny subsidiary in Georgia wasn't at the negotiating table. The parent company has the right to make decisions like this even without all subsidiaries being present.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macarena View Post


    Why deal with logic, when there is the rich hand of Apple, you have a very cooperative legal system! I have read that the Chinese legal system is impossible to navigate - but I guess that only applies to outsiders.



    I cannot even imagine that the Chinese legal system actually entertains such a lawsuit - let alone allowing units to be seized and considering an import/export ban on the iPad! Quite obviously, everyone has a stake in Proview's extortion game.



    This should a major lesson to all companies that insist on manufacturing in China. It makes tremendous sense to have some diversity - even if it comes at a much higher cost. For a company like Apple, this is a no brainer. Especially if it means they have enhanced production at a time when production is their number one constraint.



    Brazil is a good first step, but Apple should also look at other markets like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, etc. And more importantly, Apple should look to diversify outside of Foxconn - what Proview did today, Foxconn could attempt tomorrow - and Foxconn is infinitely more connected in the establishment than Proview ever was.



    The Chinese system is improving rapidly and is not as bad as you're suggesting. The smaller, local courts are often incompetent and make decisions like this, but they tend to get fixed pretty quickly when appealed.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    how does "bought pin 10 countries" = "worldwide"



    aren't there more than 10 countries in the world?



    or are there only 10 that matter? or only 10 that have anything that resembles copyright laws?



    No. Proview had the trademark in 10 countries. Apple previously had the trademark (almost?) everywhere else. So when Apple acquired the 10 countries from Proview, Apple could claim to have trademark worldwide.
  • Reply 26 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post


    Apple is not the only large company to use Foxconn, not by a long shot. You think Foxconn would jeopardize their lucrative contracts industry wide with a power play?



    You never know how the game plays out. Three years back, did you expect the situation between Samsung and its largest customer to get so ugly? 4 years back, did you expect Apple and Google to be fighting a "thermonuclear war"?



    If Apple gets a decisive victory against Samsung, who can predict how Samsung would respond? Samsung has dozens of other major customers - but would you bet that Samsung would not try everything in its power to hurt Apple?
  • Reply 27 of 63
    That Proview is being threatened with delisting should indicate that Proview will not have much clout. Locally, the judges might have an interest because they own Proview stock, but outside that region, they likely will have little.



    Proview looks like they've been sitting on their "rights" for two years and in financial straits now they're throwing a Hail Mary, hoping to stay in business. Actually that's not the case either. Whatever the business they are in now is dead, and their employees are cooked, but the owners and investors want to live the good life with an IP income stream from Apple.
  • Reply 28 of 63
    How do you ban the importation of a product that's already (and only?) made in that country?



    This whole thing strikes me as a copy-cat move of that Unix squabble initiated by SCO years ago.
  • Reply 29 of 63
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by blursd View Post


    Notice the reasoning here. "We probably won't do it because it would be 'too difficult.'" Not "We won't do it because it complete bull@#$%."



    Proview claims they hold the trademark to the iPad name in China ... great. Apple owns the trademark everywhere else, so there's nothing illegal about producing iPads in China and exporting them to countries where Apple does own the trademark (this is sidestepping the issue of whether or not Proview actually has a legitimate claim to the China trademark of the term "iPad").



    If China were to ban the exportation of all iPads from the country over a domestic trademark dispute the backlash would be devastating. EVERY foreign company that has production in China would immediately start looking for alternate production facilities in friendly countries - which is a MAJOR source of China's economy and growth.



    China is ballsy when it come to stealing intellectual property and technology, but they're not suicidal - banning the exportation of the iPad would bring the world down on China, and China doesn't like being in the unfavorable spotlight.



    I agree it is ridiculous to claim Apple can't export else where. I wonder if iPad in Chinese is registered by Proview since they went to the trouble of registering it in English? Maybe Apple could just use the Chinese name iPad in China what ever that may be.
  • Reply 30 of 63
    Quote:

    A settlement from Apple could help Proview International Holdings, the parent company of Proview Technology (Shenzhen), reverse its current fate. The company is in danger of being de-listed from the Hong Kong stock exchange and has run into financial trouble in recent years.



    So in other words PIH has very little to lose by throwing everything they can at this since they are going downhill anyway.
  • Reply 31 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tofino View Post


    Just change the name. Not that big of deal.







    Have you ever looked at an iPad. It does not SCREAM the name iPad. Its pretty much hidden. So what is this company really looking for. Its parent company sold the rights. Plus I am pretty sure getting a name like "iPad" in a company that speaks and WRITES in chinese is pretty stupid unless you are just cyber squatting, sell your rights for money, then pretend you never heard of your parent company selling the english name...



    [racist comment removed]



    Just a thought,

    en
  • Reply 32 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tofino View Post


    Just change the name. Not that big of deal.









    Actually it is a big deal. Proview's parent company, according to Apple, sold the rights and is now recanting on the contract with this 'oh we didn't actually own the rights to China' stuff. Why? Because they didn't know they were dealing with someone that was working on behalf of Apple and they undersold and now they want more money.



    So Proview, by that deal, doesn't have the grounds to do any of this. And they should be shut down over it.



    Frankly I think that Apple should give in on the sales and import issues. So what if it will be hard for the Chinese government to keep out scalpers etc. That's for them, not Apple, to figure out. Focus on the export issue until a year or so from now when they can just yank iPad production out of China along with perhaps the iPhone. Sorry China for the lost jobs but Apple has to protect themselves and their ability to see their products in the world market. Cause the world doesn't revolve around China, or at least shouldn't
  • Reply 33 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post


    Questions:



    1. What does global Proview say about this issue? They know that they sold the name so why don't they ask the Chinese group to stand down?.





    They are the ones saying "oops, no we didn't control those rights so they weren't included. Sorry we didn't tell you that years ago"



    Why? Money. The mark turns out to be worth more than what they sold it for, a lot more. They want a piece of that.



    Personally I think Apple should sue them for bad faith dealings.
  • Reply 34 of 63
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    They are the ones saying "oops, no we didn't control those rights so they weren't included. Sorry we didn't tell you that years ago"



    Why? Money. The mark turns out to be worth more than what they sold it for, a lot more. They want a piece of that.



    Personally I think Apple should sue them for bad faith dealings.



    Did Apple really deal directly with the parent company? I had the impression that they bought the rights from the HK subsidiary. If they dealt with the parent, then your assessment appears sound.
  • Reply 35 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macarena View Post


    In all likelihood, some unknown subsidiary of Apple negotiated with Proview Head Quarters for the rights to the iPad name in 10 countries. Not knowing that Apple was the final beneficiary, Proview must have sold it to them for a song.



    They did: IP Application Development (IPAD) bought the rights for 35,000 pounds. They then sold the rights to Apple for 10 pounds several months later.
  • Reply 36 of 63
    Let me recaption the 'confiscation' photo.



    Chinese officials split up iPad 2 units after stealing them.
  • Reply 37 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aportfoliodoctor.com View Post


    .Apple will slice and dice all allegations with excellent legal representation in a

    court of law





    This has already been to court. Apple lost.



    They bought all the worldwide rights that one company owned. But that company did not own the rights to China.



    The Chinese trademark was registered to a different company. The one that Apple bought from did not own the Chinese rights. Apple did not buy the Chinese rights to the name.



    This all seems pretty cut and dried to me. Too bad for Apple. Their due diligence team F'ed up.
  • Reply 38 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    how does "bought pin 10 countries" = "worldwide"



    aren't there more than 10 countries in the world?



    or are there only 10 that matter? or only 10 that have anything that resembles copyright laws?



    The company that Apple dealt with owned the mark in 10 countries.



    However, the mark was registered in at least 11 countries. Apple didn't buy the rights in China because the company they dealt with did not own the rights in China.
  • Reply 39 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    This has already been to court. Apple lost.



    They bought all the worldwide rights that one company owned. But that company did not own the rights to China.



    The Chinese trademark was registered to a different company. The one that Apple bought from did not own the Chinese rights. Apple did not buy the Chinese rights to the name.



    This all seems pretty cut and dried to me. Too bad for Apple. Their due diligence team F'ed up.



    I tried doing a little digging, and it may not be quite so cut and dry (or, I could be wrong ). I won't repost the full text of my ramblings :P, just a snippet and link:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GoodGrief View Post


    *1) The sale explicitly includes the rights held by Shenzhen in China. Shenzhen isn't in default at this point, and is a subsidiary of International. This means International has a minimum of 50% ownership of Shenzhen, and therefore <can> make the unilateral decision to sell a Shenzhen asset to a third party, being a controlling owner of the LTD company. (International owns Shenzhen, which owns the trademark - therefore, International effectively owns the trademark - or at the very least can legally decide on Shenzhen's behalf to sell an asset.)



  • Reply 40 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GoodGrief View Post


    I tried doing a little digging, and it may not be quite so cut and dry (or, I could be wrong ). I won't repost the full text of my ramblings :P, just a snippet and link:



    Quote:

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GoodGrief

    *1) The sale explicitly includes the rights held by Shenzhen in China. Shenzhen isn't in default at this point, and is a subsidiary of International. This means International has a minimum of 50% ownership of Shenzhen, and therefore <can> make the unilateral decision to sell a Shenzhen asset to a third party, being a controlling owner of the LTD company. (International owns Shenzhen, which owns the trademark - therefore, International effectively owns the trademark - or at the very least can legally decide on Shenzhen's behalf to sell an asset.)





    The rights in China were not held by the company that Apple dealt with, according to the court.



    Whether that company can bind a subsidiary is an issue - and the court has seemingly held that they cannot, or at least, in this situation, did not.



    None of us really know what the contract said. However, the court knows exactly what the contract said.



    The court decision is being appealed by Apple. They may or may not win on appeal.



    It is likely that Chinese law is not identical in every respect to western law.



    We need to separate our common-sense western notions of fairness from what the Chinese courts tell us about the status of the Chinese contract under Chinese law.



    It is entirely possible that Apple screwed up big time.
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