ipad 3 boxReuters reports on the first public comments from a government official regarding Apple's dispute with Proview over ownership of the "iPad" trademark in China, with the official stating that according to Chinese law Proview is indeed the rightful owner of the trademark.

"According to the ... provisions of the China Trademark Law, currently Shenzhen Proview is the legal registrant of the iPad trademark," Fu Shuangjian, a deputy director of [the State Administration for Industry and Commerce], was quoted as saying at a news conference in Beijing. [...]

"This case has a huge impact and the final court ruling would directly influence who owns the iPad trademark. The commerce department will (take the matter) very seriously," said Fu, whose department governs market regulation and supervision.

Fu's comments are not an official ruling on the matter, as the case is still being tried in a Chinese court and settlement talks are reportedly underway, but his perspective could provide a hint about how the case will ultimately play out.

His comments do, however, leave some room for interpretation, potentially noting only that Proview remains listed as the trademark's owner in governmental records. In that context, his comments may simply be observational rather than outlining a position that Proview should ultimately retain those rights.

Apple claims that it obtained the Chinese trademark on the iPad name through a dummy corporation it set up to purchase various iPad trademarks from Proview's Taiwanese arm in the months leading up to the device's debut in early 2010. But Proview later argued that the Chinese right could not have been included in the deal because they were controlled by Proview's Shenzhen arm, despite the fact that officers participating in the deal were aligned with both companies.

A Hong Kong court ruled that Proview and its subsidiaries had conspired to extort additional money out of Apple once it became known that it was the ultimate purchaser of the rights, but Chinese courts are continuing to weigh the matter.

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

Top Rated Comments

GJessopp Avatar
116 months ago
I love how China is kicking the arse out of this case. This is coming from the country which infringes copyright on millions of products. Their market is swarming with fake copies of every consumer good there is worth buying. They don't have any right to sue anyone over copyright infringement.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jasontll Avatar
116 months ago
I am generally a fan of everything Apple, however, the simple fact that no one on this board seems to realize is that Apple is the villain here.

Apple acted in bad faith, disguising their ownership of "dummy" corporations in order to obtain world wide rights from ProView. If Apple had come to ProView, demanded a non-disclosure agreement, and then proceeded to negotiate a fair rate for the iPad trademark, there would be no dispute, but that is not what Apple did. They lied about who was buying these rights, and obtained the right to the iPad name everywhere but China. If their lawyers had been thorough, the Chinese rights would also have been obtained through this subterfuge, but they screwed up and now they should pay a hefty price for their lies and oversight.

Making misleading or false statements, or omitting material true statements, that, in light of the circumstances, would be misleading, is fraud. Apple is guilty. Would ProView outside China have sold so cheap if Apple had not disguised itself?

Apple is only in supposed settlement talks because they know they are in the wrong. Apple could crush them in court if they had a case, but they don't.

Dude obviously you haven't gone to business school before, that's a legit strategy. ;)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d0vr Avatar
116 months ago

Apple acted in bad faith, disguising their ownership of "dummy" corporations in order to obtain world wide rights from ProView.

Oh grow up and get with how the world works. This was standard business practises, nothing special about the way Apple acted here. If I were in business, I'd do exactly the same thing.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
116 months ago
I am generally a fan of everything Apple, however, the simple fact that no one on this board seems to realize is that Apple is the villain here.

Apple acted in bad faith, disguising their ownership of "dummy" corporations in order to obtain world wide rights from ProView. If Apple had come to ProView, demanded a non-disclosure agreement, and then proceeded to negotiate a fair rate for the iPad trademark, there would be no dispute, but that is not what Apple did. They lied about who was buying these rights, and obtained the right to the iPad name everywhere but China. If their lawyers had been thorough, the Chinese rights would also have been obtained through this subterfuge, but they screwed up and now they should pay a hefty price for their lies and oversight.

Making misleading or false statements, or omitting material true statements, that, in light of the circumstances, would be misleading, is fraud. Apple is guilty. Would ProView outside China have sold so cheap if Apple had not disguised itself?

Apple is only in supposed settlement talks because they know they are in the wrong. Apple could crush them in court if they had a case, but they don't.

The dummy corp was setup for a few reasons. If they came to Proview as Apple, then Apple would have to pay ridiculous amounts of money. Also it was done to keep confidentiality. You clearly can't trust Chinese officials. They are sneaky, and doubt they would even maintain confidentiality. It also would pretty much be clear that Apple is coming out with a product called iPad.

How is using a dummy corporate fraud. Its a little sneaky, but not against the law. Apple was perfectly with in the law to create a new company, and have them buy the trademark. Again, it is for confidentiality, and to pay a fair price, and not be ripped off by money hungry douche bags (Proview has already proved to be money hungry douche bags.)
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
116 months ago
Although I can't say I agree with all of Apple's legal battles, this is one I thought they should have won. So what does this mean? The thieving Proview company will get a billion-dollar settlement for a trademark name they sold in the first place? :mad:
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
surf2snow1 Avatar
116 months ago
Interesting.
I'm curious though, why doesn't Apple just buy the trademark?
It's not like they don't have enough cash laying around to do so.

You don't feed the trolls.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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