Apple in talks with Proview to settle iPad trademark dispute

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Discussions are underway between Apple and Proview as the two parties attempt to settle a dispute over ownership and use of the "iPad" name.

A lawyer representing Proview revealed on Friday to IDG News Service that the talks are currently happening. Neither Proview nor Apple would provide any additional details, but the news has sparked speculation that the matter could be resolved out of court.

Chinese law allows both parties in a dispute to engage in talks for a possible settlement before a ruling is issued. Those talks, however, are voluntary, and are not mandated by the court.

The talks began after the Chinese court recommended earlier this week that both sides attempt to mediate their dispute. If a resolution cannot be reached, a ruling will be issued by the Higher People's Court of Guandong Province.

Apple used a third-party company to purchase the rights to the iPad trademark from Proview in 2009. However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.

New iPad


Proview and Apple are involved in a number of lawsuits throughout China, as Proview is attempting to block sales of the iPad and even exportation of the device, which would effectively bring worldwide sales to a halt. Proview has even taken its legal action against Apple to the U.S., filing suit in California over the "iPad" trademark.

At its peak, Proview was the manufacturer of a stripped-down PC it called the Internet Personal Access Device, or iPAD. The company also found some success building monitors before the global financial crisis hit and pushed it into bankruptcy. Now, it's a near-dead company with its ownership of the "IPAD" name its only major asset.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member


    Take them to the cleaners!

  • Reply 2 of 28


     


    Quote:

     However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.


     


     


    That is not Proview's argument.


     


    It  is not a matter of who was present at the closing.  It is a matter of which company entered into the contract  of sale.  


     


    The  Chinese subsidiary never signed the contract, despite being mentioned  in prior emails.  The Chinese owner of the Chinese trademark never signed the contract, and did not sell the Chinese trademark.


     


    Even if representatives of the "Chinese branch" were present, it would have made no difference unless the Chinese company signed the  sales contract and thereby transferred the Chinese trademark. 

  • Reply 3 of 28
    nceencee Posts: 836member


    Apple WILL write a check, now it's just a matter of how much. The is an amount that will be much easier to write then deal with the BS. NOW, if the case is REAL solid, then this meeting will be to tell them "Stick it up …"


     


    Skip

  • Reply 4 of 28
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    Thanks for the correction on the detail but you're conclusion still seems faulty to me.  The Chinese company doesn't necessarily have to be present or even know about the sale of the trademark for it to be legal.  It depends on the relationship between the companies which I'm sure is complex.  


     


    I'm not saying you are wrong, just that your conclusion (that because the Chinese company wasn't aware of the sale or agreeable to it, makes the sale void), is not proven.  

  • Reply 5 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Thanks for the correction on the detail but you're conclusion still seems faulty to me.  The Chinese company doesn't necessarily have to be present or even know about the sale of the trademark for it to be legal.  It depends on the relationship between the companies which I'm sure is complex.  


     


    I'm not saying you are wrong, just that your conclusion (that because the Chinese company wasn't aware of the sale or agreeable to it, makes the sale void), is not proven.  



     


    What you say is true.  It is possible that the Taiwanese company had been authorized to sell another company's (i.e, the Chinese company's) property.


     


    There is no evidence that is the case.  If it were true, ISTM that Apple would have said so, as it would be the linchpin upon which its case rested.


     


    All we know is that the Chinese company owned the Chinese trademark, and did not sign any documents whereby they sold their property.  Instead, the Taiwanese company purported to sell the Chinese trademark, but did  not own it.  It is as if you sold your brother's car.  Yeah - maybe you were authorized to do so, but there is no evidence of any such authorization signed by the Chinese company.


     


    Edit:  And a small detail is that the Chinese company seems to have been aware of the purported sale by the Taiwanese company, given that they had employees in common.  Many of the emails  were sent by employees of the Chinese company.  The preliminary negotiations contemplated the sale of the Chinese trademark.  The problem for Apple is that the actual sale was not done by the owner of the Chinese trademark, but instead, by the Taiwanese company, who did not own it.

  • Reply 6 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


     


     


     


    That is not Proview's argument.


     


    It  is not a matter of who was present at the closing.  It is a matter of which company entered into the contract  of sale.  


     


    The  Chinese subsidiary never signed the contract, despite being mentioned  in prior emails.  The Chinese owner of the Chinese trademark never signed the contract, and did not sell the Chinese trademark.


     


    Even if representatives of the "Chinese branch" were present, it would have made no difference unless the Chinese company signed the  sales contract and thereby transferred the Chinese trademark. 



     




    If what you say is true then there wouldn't be mediation right now and the judges wouldn't be deliberating 7 weeks after the trial.  The court would have simply ruled in favor of Proview, fined Apple for their infringement and banned iPad sales in China.  So, we can know by the current circumstances that some significant part of your statement isn't correct.

  • Reply 7 of 28


    Apple counsel commenting on talks to settle with Proview = actual settlement talks in progress.


     


    Proview counsel commenting on talks to settle with Apple = desperate attempt to keep possibility of settlement alive in headlines of tech blogs.

  • Reply 8 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post


     


     




    If what you say is true then there wouldn't be mediation right now and the judges wouldn't be deliberating 7 weeks after the trial.  The court would have simply ruled in favor of Proview, fined Apple for their infringement and banned iPad sales in China.  So, we can know by the current circumstances that some significant part of your statement isn't correct.



     


    There are many possible reasons why the court may have not yet issued a decision.  Political pressure alone may explain it.

  • Reply 9 of 28


    This has been beat to death before. Proview will get squat compared to the "criminal" demands of $1 billion plus they were seeking.


     


    Proview thinks they have Apple by the balls because they could threaten to stop all import/export of iPads from China, thereby cutting off Apple's ability to sell anywhere in the world by preventing iPads from leaving China. So they think their China trademark is a worldwide trademark.


     


    Apple can easily get around this by removing all iPad branding from iPads made at Foxconn, shipping them out of China "barebones", and applying trademarks in another factory. This is common practice in manufacturing today. As for China, Apple could come up with a new name for the iPad in China. Not something Apple would like to do, but they would if Proview was ever successful in getting an injunction before agreeing to paying the ridiculous amounts Proview seeks.


     


    Proview is playing with the big boys, and they'll soon find out companies like Apple don't bow down to every single mosquito that comes buzzing around.

  • Reply 10 of 28
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,564member
    <p>  </p><div class="quote-container"> <span>Quote:</span> <div class="quote-block"> <vc> However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.</vc></div></div><p>  </p><p>  </p><p> That is not Proview's argument.</p><p>  </p><p> It  is not a matter of who was present at the closing.  It is a matter of which company entered into the contract  of sale....

    As I understand it, Apple were dealing with the parent company, not a Taiwan subsidiary.

    Because of the intricacies of Chinese law, this may not necessarily bind the Chinese subsidiaries-- the subsidiary would have to be compelled by the parent company to transfer the trademark in accordance with the parent's legal system.
  • Reply 11 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


     


    Quote:

     However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.


     


     


    That is not Proview's argument.


     


    It  is not a matter of who was present at the closing.  It is a matter of which company entered into the contract  of sale....





    As I understand it, Apple were dealing with the parent company, not a Taiwan subsidiary.



    Because of the intricacies of Chinese law, this may not necessarily bind the Chinese subsidiaries-- the subsidiary would have to be compelled by the parent company to transfer the trademark in accordance with the parent's legal system.


     


     


    The sales contract was signed by the Taiwan subsidiary.  The preliminary negotiations,  via email,  may have been with the Hong Kong parent, but I would have to look it up to be certain.


     


     

  • Reply 12 of 28


    "Because of the intricacies of Chinese law, this may not necessarily bind the Chinese subsidiaries-- the subsidiary would have to be compelled by the parent company to transfer the trademark in accordance with the parent's legal system."


     


    I say foul.  The problem is that people and companies around the world lie cheat and steal for their own profit.  


     


    If people in the company (that legally should have done the signing) allowed others to sign knowing it was an illegal deal, then its fraud.  A crime. 


     


    If the people left in the company just want more money, then its a crime. 


     


    While knowing the local law is important, the locals should have full knowledge of the law and if they are making claims that they know are false then its a crime. 


     


    Sadly, lawyers of all countries happily support the crime of their client for money.  Which before the fact would make them partners in the crime. 


     


    Its getting to be a very sad world.  


     


    Just a thought.


    en

  • Reply 13 of 28
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post





    As I understand it, Apple were dealing with the parent company, not a Taiwan subsidiary.

    Because of the intricacies of Chinese law, this may not necessarily bind the Chinese subsidiaries-- the subsidiary would have to be compelled by the parent company to transfer the trademark in accordance with the parent's legal system.


     


    That is mostly true. The part you're leaving out is that during the negotiations with the parent company, Apple was told to sign the deal with the Taiwan subsidiary and write the check to them. Apple was acting on the instructions of the parent.

  • Reply 14 of 28


    They want a resolution? How about 2048 x 1536? That sounds like a pretty impressive resolution to me!


     


    At least we know Apple has done a lot more with the iPad name than Proview. I realize in the end that has no bearing on the case, but it is the kind of thing that could make people want to vote in Apple's favour.

  • Reply 15 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post


    They want a resolution? How about 2048 x 1536? That sounds like a pretty impressive resolution to me!


     


     



     


    How about this?  Resolved: We will get Apple's money.

  • Reply 16 of 28
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,196member
    <p>  </p><div class="quote-container"> <span>Quote:</span> <div class="quote-block"> <vc> However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.</vc></div></div><p>  </p><p>  </p><p> That is not Proview's argument.</p><p>  </p><p> It  is not a matter of who was present at the closing.  It is a matter of which company entered into the contract  of sale.  </p><p>  </p><p> The  Chinese subsidiary never signed the contract, despite being mentioned  in prior emails.  The Chinese owner of the Chinese trademark never signed the contract, and did not sell the Chinese trademark.</p><p>  </p><p> Even if representatives of the "Chinese branch" were present, it would have made no difference unless the Chinese company signed the  sales contract and thereby transferred the Chinese trademark. </p>
    While this is true, according to Apple they were lead to believe that control over China belonged to the people they were talking to and was included in the sale. Even some of the district courts agreed with them

    I'm not shocked a Proview lawyer is saying talks are going on because they would want to put out the implication they are winning. But the truth could be there are no talks or Apple's side is transfer it or go to court and they are not backing down. IF they pull back and agree to pay anything it won't be the millions Proview wants. More like the same 55k at most from the original sale
  • Reply 17 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


     


    Quote:

     However, Proview has argued that its Shenzhen subsidiary still owns the iPad trademark, because representatives from the Chinese branch were not present when the contract was signed.


     


     


    That is not Proview's argument.


     


    It  is not a matter of who was present at the closing.  It is a matter of which company entered into the contract  of sale.  


     


    The  Chinese subsidiary never signed the contract, despite being mentioned  in prior emails.  The Chinese owner of the Chinese trademark never signed the contract, and did not sell the Chinese trademark.


     


    Even if representatives of the "Chinese branch" were present, it would have made no difference unless the Chinese company signed the  sales contract and thereby transferred the Chinese trademark. 



    While this is true, according to Apple they were lead to believe that control over China belonged to the people they were talking to and was included in the sale. Even some of the district courts agreed with them



    I'm not shocked a Proview lawyer is saying talks are going on because they would want to put out the implication they are winning. But the truth could be there are no talks or Apple's side is transfer it or go to court and they are not backing down. IF they pull back and agree to pay anything it won't be the millions Proview wants. More like the same 55k at most from the original sale


     


    My guess is that the settlement will be confidential, and that nobody will know the amount.

  • Reply 18 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post


    Proview is playing with the big boys, and they'll soon find out companies like Apple don't bow down to every single mosquito that comes buzzing around.



     


    Mosquito! :)! - Nice! I Like it!!! 


     

  • Reply 19 of 28
    peter236peter236 Posts: 254member


    When Apple infringes on another company's trademark, it will have to pay big money for using that name. Apple should get this resolved soon, otherwise the Chinese users will shift quickly to the Android tablets.

  • Reply 20 of 28


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by peter236 View Post


    When Apple infringes on another company's trademark, it will have to pay big money for using that name. Apple should get this resolved soon, otherwise the Chinese users will shift quickly to the Android tablets.



     




    You can still buy an iPad 2 all over China or a new iPad through the grey market.  Which Android tablet do you really think they will choose over that?

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