back to article Apple slams hard-up Proview for conning the courts

Apple has decided to up the ante on trademark dispute foe and failed Asian monitor vendor Proview, accusing the firm of misleading the courts and of trying to milk the iPad maker for more money in order to pay off its creditors. The two have been locked in a long running legal battle over who owns the IPAD trademark in China …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you wanted to buy a trademark you are hardly going to go and say 'Hi Apple here - yes largest company in the world with $100bn in the bank - we would like to buy your trademark - how much do you want for it'.

    What they did is pretty much what anyone else in a similar position would do.

    It's no worse than turning up at a customer site in your 3 year old BMW 3-series but then driving back to your office and then driving home in your brand new Bentley.

  2. Oliver Mayes

    While I have to grudgingly side with Apple in this dispute I still can't help but laugh at

    "...we would never knowingly abuse someone else’s trademarks."

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley


      Just curious. Apple do tend to buy up the rights to trademarks before using them.

      That's why the Apple TV isn't called the "iTV": because there's a broadcaster by that name in the UK that has been around for a lot longer than Apple has, and ITV has a very strong brand presence in the country.

      And, yes, Apple did pay Cisco for the rights to use the name "iOS".

      They can still cock things up occasionally—there are a lot of countries on this planet and they all have their own quirks—but the suggestion that Apple would be stupid enough to deliberately use someone else's trademark without permission is ingenuous at best. Apple have no more desire to spray money at lawyers than anybody else.

    2. teacake

      Oh, Apple, you kidders

      "...we would never knowingly abuse someone else’s trademarks."

      Apart from when selling music, of course...

  3. frank ly

    ... trick Proview into selling it the IPAD patents

    I thought Apple bought a trademark, not patents.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Lawyers on both sides the only winners?

    Proview is bankrupt. Good luck to their US lawyers getting a bent dime if they lose.

    for the poor destitute lawyers sakes, I really do hope that they got Proview to stump up a very large wad of genuine $100 bills before they took the case. Otherwise, it will be a lot of egg on their faces as thay have to return one of their three or is it four Porche's/Mercs/Ferraris etc.

    bomb, for trhe lawyers naturally

  5. Robot

    What does the financial health of Proview ...

    ... have to do with the merits of the court case?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What does the financial health of Proview ...

      @Robot: "What does the financial health of Proview have to do with the merits of the court case?"

      At the time the IPAD trademark was purchased, Proview was already in dire straits. If the transfer was closed in China, all the proceeds would be immediately demanded creditors. Proview desperately wanted some liquidity, so chose to close the deal via its Taiwan subsidiary, thus concealing the additional income from creditors (largely the Chinese banks, who would see the transaction). This legal action is largely driven by the same banks, seeking to recover some of the huge losses they have made on their investment in Proview.

      1. g e

        Re: What does the financial health of Proview ...

        I reckon it could hinge on the whole ipads being made before the trademark was purchased claim.

        If they had a squillion tablets made with 'iPad' stamped on them, they're going to go to quite some lengths to ensure they don't have to rebrand and restamp the product(s).

        If it can be shown this was the case it strengthens the Proview claim. If in fact no branded units were made (just the backplate, right?) before the purchase then Proview look like they're just out for a payday (which they certainly are, the difference is whether or not it's justified).

        As for Proview being sneaky, well, it's not like apple are above dirty tricks to make a buck either. No big corp is, the gains usually outweighs the potential losses. So name calling and claims of sneakiness are irrelevant.

        If branded product was made and if the pseudonymous UK Director was acting under an alias I reckon Proview will get a payday unless a stellar explanation is forthcoming. If not then apple get to trumpet loudly about justice being served.

        Of course this doesn't take into account the wholesale buying of Chinese officials to make it go away...

  6. g e

    So in other words

    Apple still haven't anything stronger to rebuff Proview's claims than name-calling?

    Looking good for Proview still, then, I must say.

    1. Ian Davies

      Re: So in other words

      > anything stronger to rebuff Proview's claims

      You mean *other* than documentary evidence of wilful deception?

      1. Citizen Kaned

        Re: So in other words

        but didnt apple doctor images of a samsung tablet for german courts? has anything happened to them over that?

  7. Ian Davies

    Seems simple enough

    Proview is claiming that the Taiwanese subsidiary sold something (iPad trademark) which it did not actually own, therefore Apple haven't actually bought it, because it was owned by the Chinese subsidiary.

    The problem is that both the Taiwan and Chinese operations are run by the same guy, Yang Rongshan, and he signed the contract authorising the sale. So it's disingenuous in the extreme for him to now claim that the Taiwan affiliate did not have the authority to sell the trademark.

    1. Seamless

      Re: Seems simple enough

      Re: "The problem is that both the Taiwan and Chinese operations are run by the same guy, Yang Rongshan, and he signed the contract authorising the sale. So it's disingenuous in the extreme for him to now claim that the Taiwan affiliate did not have the authority to sell the trademark."

      Ian, perhaps you're unfamiliar with the basic business law concept and consequences of corporate legal existence, so that although Bill Gates or Donald Trump (or Google, or Samsung, or Engulf and Devour, for that matter) may own or manage multiple entities, the bare fact that a common CEO enters into an agreement on behalf of one entity would not in general impose those obligations upon other but legally-distinct child or sibling entities (even if organized as subsidiaries of the seller)?

      It's not that extreme of a situation, at least under most western-tradition legal systems which offer many advantages to corporate entities.

      But here's a case even more extreme, but true (and I don't know if it applies with respect to Proview): From personal involvement with litigation brought in the US by a very well known large digital content corp., it can be so confusing that an attorney in one branch office of the very large and highly-respected law firm representing the selling entity--who was explicitly charged with the responsibility to handle the firm's client's intellectual property assets as well as those of the client's subsidiaries--did not know that another branch office of the same law firm had separately arranged to sell the client's subsidiary's IP assets.

      The former attorney testified it was inconceivable that such discussions and transaction would not have been brought to the first office's attention, and thus no sale of the subsidiary's IP assets had occurred; yet testimony by attorneys at the latter office established that corporate documents in the second law office branch's files showed (in their opinion) that the subsidiary's IP assets had been sold by the parent corp.

      The federal district court judge did not end up deciding the issue; the case settled short of trial.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    crApple are claim that Proview are conning the courts?

    What are Proview supposed to have done? did they alter the evidence presented to the court by manipulating images in Photoshop?

    Can we have a icon with a pot and a kettle please elReg?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sanctimonious hypocritical bastards.

    >"as a company that generates a lot of intellectual property we would never knowingly abuse someone else’s trademarks."

    But what would they do as a company whose entire success was founded on ripping off other people's (notable Xerox PARC's) ideas? The only thing Apple ever contribute is to stick rounded edges on all the rectangles.

    1. Ian Davies

      Re: Sanctimonious hypocritical bastards.

      Congratulations, you win the Golden Doofus Award for recycling possibly one of the oldest myths in tech, namely that Apple somehow 'stole' Xerox's ideas, instead of paying for them in stock which is, you know, what actually happened.

    2. Armando 123

      Re: Sanctimonious hypocritical bastards.

      Seriously? This has been pretty well-documented; check out http:// and / for comments and rebuttals from those who were there.

      Apple may have had one or two ideas that came from PARC, but they were working on a GUI more or less independently. (A lot of people got hired among a set of companies and ideas and concepts tended to move with people. Nowadays there is more of an understanding of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", though I'm not so naive as to think that this doesn't still go on.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple is hardly placed to slam Proview.

    Oi, ebooks!

  12. Vance P. Frickey

    Chinese courts, Chinese law, Chinese company...

    ...I wonder who's going to come out on top here.

    <action: eats popcorn while watching multinational wanna-be monopoly face off against Chinese company on its home turf, a company which is owned by someone who presumably keeps his Communist party dues and/or graft payments paid up>

    I wouldn't be very upset if Apple were taken to the cleaners by Proview and the Chinese courts. It would rub every other Western company's nose in the perils of trading with the Chinese - that you're moving from where law is more or less sacrosanct to where it's re-written by the judge to back those in (more) power, or the home team (in the case of Proview).

    A trade war would bring manufacturing back where it belongs - in countries where it became uneconomic because of the competition from places with no labor, environmental or employee safety laws. We really need one, badly.

    1. Ian 16

      Re: Chinese courts, Chinese law, Chinese company...

      ""We really need one, badly.""

      Which is why we wont get one and Apple will likely get their way...

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