February 8, 2012
Chinese Firm Seeking $38M, Apology From Apple
A Chinese company is seeking a $38 million fine and an apology from Apple for the Cupertino, California-based tech giant's use of the iPad name in China, various media outlets reported on Tuesday.
A Wall Street Journal article reprinted at FoxNews.com reports that Proview Technology (Shenzhen) has filed for a temporary restraining order against Apple's tablet computer -- the latest development in a trademark-infringement dispute that, according to Rik Myslewski of the Register, dates back to October 2010.According to Myslewski, Proview Technology (Shenzhen), which is a part of Proview International Holdings, a Hong Kong-based computer monitor manufacturer, registered a trademark for the iPad name back in 2001. According to the Journal, it uses the name for some of its products.
Five years later, an affiliated company, Proview Electronics (Taiwan) sold those rights to a company called IP Application Development Limited, a UK company "which was founded right before the sale and is now listed by Level Business as a 'dormant company,'" the Register reported.
IP Application Development Limited then reportedly turned around and sold the iPad trademark to Apple for the equivalent of $16. However, according to the AppleInsider blog, the rights acquired by Apple "did not include the rights to the trademark in China, as those were owned by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), a subsidiary of Proview International in Hong Kong."
"The crux of Proview's argument is that it sold the rights to IP Application Development -- not Apple," DailyTech reporter Jason Mick said, adding that Apple countered that they "fully owned the trademark, via a transfer" and had in turn sought more than $630 million in legal fees "for what it says was a defense against false claims."
Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Yang Rongshan told the Wall Street Journal that they were currently negotiating with Apple, but refused to elaborate other than to say that the company had thus far had an "ambiguous" attitude throughout the process. Apple representatives declined the paper's request for comment.
Furthermore, Xiao Caiyuan, a lawyer representing Proview, told AppleInsider that the company was prepared "for a long-term legal battle," though Mick observers that the company "may need outside cash from another Chinese firm or venture capitalists in order to fuel a successful IP war against Apple."
The Journal, citing Xinhua reports, also said that the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce was investigating a similar complaint filed by Proview against Apple.
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