Apple Threatens to Sue Proview for Defamation as Chinese Court Asks Distributors to Pull iPads

Associated Press reports that a Chinese court has ruled against Apple in its ongoing trademark dispute with Proview Technology over the rights to the "iPad" trademark in that country, deciding that distributors should halt sales of the iPad in China. The impact of the ruling is, however, unclear as the lawsuit is just one of many Proview has filed against Apple in its efforts to extract as much as $2 billion for the trademark rights.

Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Shenzhen Proview Technology, said the Intermediate People's Court in Huizhou, a city in southern China's Guangdong province, had ruled on Friday that distributors should stop selling iPads in China.

The ruling, which was also reported widely in China's state media, may not have a far-reaching effect. In its battle with Apple, Proview is utilizing lawsuits in several places and also requesting commercial authorities in 40 cities to block iPad sales.

Apple Inc. said in a statement Monday that its case is still pending in mainland China. The company has appealed to Guangdong's High Court against an earlier ruling in Proview's favor.

proview logo
Meanwhile, IDG News reports that Apple sent a letter to Proview today threatening a lawsuit over defamation charges. Apple had previously won a case over the trademark rights in a Hong Kong court, and Apple's threats claim that Proview has issued false public statements regarding the dispute.

On Monday, Apple sent a letter to Chinese display vendor Proview, demanding its founder Yang Rongshan cease releasing what it said was false information to the media. Apple then warned it would sue for damages caused by "defamatory statements."

"It is inappropriate to release information contrary to the facts to the media, especially when such disclosures have the effect of wrongfully causing damage to Apple's reputation," said the letter, which was provided by a person familiar with the matter.

Apple claims that a shell company it set up for the purpose of anonymously acquiring intellectual property rights purchased the iPad trademark rights in China and a number of other countries from Proview in 2009 for $55,000. But Proview later reported that the subsidiary making the deal did not hold the Chinese rights and demanded that Apple pay $10 million before a different subsidiary would transfer the rights.

The Hong Kong court ruled last year that the various Proview subsidiaries colluded in an effort to extort millions of dollar out of Apple, a figure that has now risen to $1-2 billion as Proview has continued to press its case. Chinese courts have so far sided with Proview, however, with Apple continuing to appeal there using the Hong Kong ruling to demonstrate the strength of its case.

Update: Financial Times clarifies that the court ruling today specifically related to a single retailer, Sundan. While the impact of the decision is limited due to its effect on a single retailer in a single city and the fact that it can still be appealed by Sundan, it may provide Proview with leverage as it pursues other lawsuits against resellers to try to halt the flow of iPads and force a settlement from Apple.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

ultravioletfly Avatar
130 months ago




http://allthingsd.com/20120216/take-a-look-at-some-of-apples-evidence-in-proview-ipad-dispute/

The Bank of China (China-govt-operated bank) is one of Proview's creditors. Extortion on a massive scale.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aeolius Avatar
130 months ago
I think Apple should call their next line of monitors the Apple ProView.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FakeWozniak Avatar
130 months ago
Funny, but if the buyer is Acme, the cost is $55K, if it's Apple its $100M. How can you blame Apple for the shell company method?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FakeWozniak Avatar
130 months ago
The article links to a PC World article.
The people on that blog are real ******s.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JHankwitz Avatar
130 months ago
Apple tried to get out of this cheap with an anonymous shell company. Clever, but it has backfired on them.

So if you owned a trademark and were approached by a company knowing it had a $568,000,000,000 cap, you would be willing to give it up for a lousy $55,000? I THINK NOT! No large company in their right mind would ever let a trademark owner know who they really were. This isn't 'clever, it's SOP.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gkpm Avatar
130 months ago
Also, Apple tried to get out of this cheap with an anonymous shell company. Clever, but it has backfired on them.
The shell company is used so trademark observers don't know Apple bought the trademark, i.e. guess Apple is coming out with a product called the iPad.

If not a simple database search would have revealed it all.

It's not just Apple who does this, pretty much standard procedure.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...