Apple Loses Chinese Lawsuit Against Proview Technology Over 'iPad' Trademark

Tuesday December 6, 2011 8:51 AM PST by Eric Slivka
Financial Post reports that Apple has lost a lawsuit it had filed against Chinese company Proview Technology alleging infringement of the "iPad" trademark. At stake in the dispute is ownership of the Chinese "iPad" trademark itself, which Proview registered for in China back in 2000. The company threatened to sue Apple last year amid failed negotiations, pegging the value of the trademark at $800 million.

As today's report notes, Apple purchased the European rights to the "iPad" trademark from Proview's parent company last year for just $55,000 and filed its suit against the Chinese subsidiary earlier this year with claims that the European deal also included the Chinese rights. Proview's Chinese arm has since sued Apple for $1.6 billion.
Apple purchased the European rights to the iPad name from Proview’s global parent last year for about $55,000 and filed an infringement lawsuit against the Shenzhen subsidiary six months ago, claiming the European deal also included China. While Tuesday’s reported ruling suggests China’s legal system does not agree, Apple officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is unclear exactly what the next steps will be in the dispute and whether there is an appeals process in place beyond today's ruling. Alternatively, Apple may have to continue working toward a settlement with Proview's Chinese arm or refrain from using the iPad name in China.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 39 months ago

Ah, the joys of the global economy with national laws affecting commerce.

In the U.S., one cannot squat on a name. Unless a company has actively used the name in a product, one would not usually be able to claim harm and collect damages. I am not familiar with the laws in China, however.

Wait... There's laws in China? :rolleyes:
Rating: 14 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago

I would go in and sue the government for all the counterfeit apple stores, for not being able to control it. And if that didnt work, I would just decide not to sell ipads in how fast they change their mind....

Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face comes to mind.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago
"Apple Inc bought the trademark rights in Europe and other places from Proview Taipei, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd still held the iPad trademark in China.
Li said the two sides had been negotiating the trademark issue at the beginning of this year, but later Apple quit the talks as Proview International became trapped in a debt crisis and its assets were frozen by eight banks. [...]

The eight banks are Bank of China, China Minsheng Bank, China Development Bank, Guangdong Development Bank, Bank of Communications, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Hua Xia Bank and Ping An Bank."

Sounds like that trademark is the only thing of value Proview owns and the banks are the ones chasing this.
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago


Knock-off junk-ware bearing the "iPad" name in a major market. :rolleyes:

Are you saying Proview shouldn't be able to use a name they registered well over half a decade before Apple wanted it?
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago

Ah, the joys of the global economy with national laws affecting commerce.

In the U.S., one cannot squat on a name. Unless a company has actively used the name in a product, one would not usually be able to claim harm and collect damages. I am not familiar with the laws in China, however.

Except they're not squatting. They produced iPad PC's in the Asian market.

Looks like they got a bargain with the EU trademark, the Chinese one is going to be quite a bit more expensive.

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago
If Proview owns the name, they own the name. They chose a name—after Apple started using i names, but before the iPod, it seems—that turned out to have value; and Apple chose a name with the potential for some expense! I still think they chose well.*

I remember that Apple had to call AirPort AirMac in some countries. So be it, but I think they’ll settle in the iPad case.

* Flashback to when the 8-year olds were snickering about Apple using the word “pad,” because they forgot that a million tech products were already called “pads”: mouse pads, keypads, trackpads, gamepads, DDR pads, numeric pads, wrist pads, chair pads, and the PADD tablets on Star Trek! And pad thai. Mmmmm... pad thai....
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago

What evidence do you have that the fake Apple Stores are 'protected by the authorities'? I thought a few were shutdown by the authorities around the time the Apple Shanghai store was opening up? So at the very least we know they are not 'protected'? At max it'd be that the authorities are not prioritizing the procecution of these fake Apple Stores? Heck, according to Macrumor reports, I think most of these stores were actually selling genuine Apple products.

Besides, from my limited undrestanding of how IP laws work in the Western world, it's up to the IP owner to sue. It's not up to the government to procecute?

I am not saying China is a saint, especially the Chinese government of all things... They definately have plenty of short comings. Tho a lot of the comments against them seems to be rather unfair, unfounded or at least lacks seriously in evidence. While people are crying foul at China for their alleged double standards, maybe they should really check and see if they also have some double standards imposed against them?

Quoting link above:
"Chinese law protects trademarks and prohibits companies from copying the "look and feel" of other companies' stores.
But enforcement is spotty, and the United States and other Western countries have often complained China is woefully behind in its effort to stamp out intellectual property (IP) theft."

As you may already know, every province handles businesses their own way, and some local government may enforce laws more than others.
I know China is working on changing that negative image, and is doing a great job at it in general, still with some spotty issues.

Still, a lot of counterfeit items are made in China, and the authorities don't do enough to stop it.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago

Maybe you should study a little bit of history before you speak? The rest of the world have done whatever they want against China for over 100 years.

Notably, the Europeans back then have banned Opium domestically, knowing the drug's bad effects. Yet, the European countries were exporting Opium into China for profit like crazy.

When the Chinese government enact laws to outlaw Opium imports and tracking down pirate smuggling Opium into China what happened? The Opium War! Multiple European countries ganged up on China, some 8 countries against 1, enacting unequal treaties, seizing lands and making sure that Opium profits will continue to flow. Between that and Japanese invasion during WW2, China took 100 years to recover, and is recovering still.

Now, China is trying to play the western game as the west have called for it. Yet you are saying the West, especially Apple of all, with billions in the bank should not respect Chinese IP Laws just because it does not serve their interest?

Because at the time Opium was the only thing Chinese wanted. To them Europeans were the savages and not the other way around. Read and you will find out how European ships were waiting weeks and months at the time to enter Chinese ports ( i think only 2 were allowing foreigner ships).
But I dont really care. I know one thing I would rather own Japanese made electronics than Chinese made. HUGE difference in quality. Sucks Apple doesn't see it that way.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago

Uh oh. It looks as if when it comes to IP protection Apple may have a chink in its armor. There is a simple solution though, and I'm surprised that Apple's usually adroit marketing department didn't think of it. Just call the Chinese version of the product the "iPaddy". Problem solved.

Bad choice of words for this thread? :eek:
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 39 months ago
Apple may need a new chinese CEO to fix this.
The chinese government could care less about this, favoring its own people.
As a huge example, the many fake Apple Stores found all over China are still in business, apparently protected by the authorities.
Rating: 2 Votes

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