Skip to comments.Hereís the Chinese Court Ruling Backing Apple in iPad Trademark Tiff
Posted on 02/16/2012 11:49:51 PM PST by Swordmaker
We bought Proviews worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter.
That was Apples statement to AllThingsD Wednesday on its increasingly contentious battle with Hong Kong-based Proview Technology, which insists it still owns the rights to the iPad trademark in China. And heres the court decision to back it up.
In it, Judge Hon Poon writes that Proviews conduct smells of conspiracy driven by financial desperation, and that theres reason to believe that it acted in breach of its agreement with Apple by wrongfully refusing to honor its obligation to hand over the iPad trademark in China.
The key paragraph:
The conduct of all the defendants demonstrate that they have combined together with the common intention of injuring Apple and IP Application [Apple's agent in the purchase] by acting in breach of the agreement. Proview Holdings, Proview Electronics and Proview Shenzhen, all clearly under [Proview CEO Yang Rongshan's] control, have refused to take any steps to ensure compliance with the agreement so that the China Trademarks are properly assigned or transferred to [Apple]. Instead, they attempt to exploit the situation as a business opportunity for the Proview Group by seeking an amount of US $10 million from Apple.
The decision in full, below:
(Excerpt) Read more at allthingsd.com ...
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And that, my FRiend is the sticky wicket. Hong Kong is NOT China, Hong Kong is a Special Adminstrative Region (SAR) of China. This would be like a finding in Puerto Rico on .... say Sony TV's ... having an over-riding effect on a court decision made in the USA.
Now, this is 'good', and will likely be admitted as supporting material for Apple; but it doesn't mean China has to abide by this finding.
I’m surprised Apple is being so cheap. $10m is peanuts. Any other big tech company would have paid up. PR is pretty important to Apple’s success, given that owning Apple products is about being perceived to be hipper than thou. Proview did trademark the iPad name way before Apple even had a product to sell. If Chinese consumers see Apple as having bullied a Chinese company into submission, a lot of unhappy history (including the burning of the imperial palace by Western troops) is going to be brought up. The Chinese are xenophobic to a fault. If Apple users in China start running the risk of being smacked around for being seen to use the product of a foreign company that screwed a Chinese one (i.e. being Chinese Benedict Arnolds), its brand name there will go up in ashes.
Perception is a funny thing - more often than not, it is flawed. In this case, the documentation is pretty clear that Apple did properly buy those rights from Proview. Apple didn’t deny the trademark - they bought the rights to use it. Isn’t that how the system (regardless of location) suppose to work?
China is riding high at the moment. They don't have to abide by anything. Although they are a member of the WTO what punishment is likely to be effective? Nothing! If they continue to prosper they will be able to sell only to their own and still prosper.
The lesson here is to the people moving manufacturing to China or those depending solely on China for supply. They will become naturally cautious about doing business with China and China will lose some of its stroke.
Russia and China have been living off stolen technology for years. They profit from natural resources and cheap labor. They survive because of the traitors in this country who give them our technology and who keep our business environment such that it is difficult to survive. Russia and China have no equivalent to labor unions, OSHA, EPA, graduated income taxes, a minimum wage, Departments of Energy, Commerce, Education, etc., with myriad restrictive regulations and media who are working against them. They have it easy and, yet, we are still stronger at this point. How long that will last is questionable.
Ok, 2 things.
1.) If you bought the rights, why pay extortion? You have a legal contract, you paid for a legal contract, you have made this product for years - but Proview waited until the 3rd iteration to say anything. Proview is facing bankrupcy, paying them will only encourage others to play this game. This game is called Extortion, and it will only get more expensive and more profitable for the 'bad guys' the longer you play it.
2) Where did you come up with $10M? The current demand is $2B (2,000 Million). That works out to approximately $500 Million per letter, but .. I digress.
The $10 Million is what the papers Proview Zhenchow and Yang (?) filed with the Hong Kong court say they wanted from Apple for the Trademark in Chinaand failed to show up to defend because they had no leg to stand onyet in other statements have admitted they have never made an offer to sell the Trademark to Apple! The $2 Billion is what they are demanding as damages and licensing since then... they are quite a piece of work, aren't they?
China has agreed to abide by court decisions in the SAR... and has so far.
The Trademark court decision Proview's favor in China is one small court in one city in China. . . and is being appealed. The Hong Kong court has issued an Injunction against that lessor court's decision as of the 16th of February based on Res Judicata (the matter had already been decided) ruling on Apple's behalf that Apple OWNED the trademark in China from June 2010. The lower court will have to recognize that decision.
The judge in in yesterday's decision in Hong Kong pointed out that Yang Rongshan, the CEO of ALL THREE Proview COMPANIES involved, was the same person who SOLD the Trademark to Apple... and is the person who is now claiming he did not give permission to the holding company's CEO (himself) to sell the Trademark!
Meanwhile, even though the court had ruled in June 2010, that Apple owned the Trademark, Proview ShenZhennow in bankruptcyapparently was selling the iPad trademark to Yoke Technologies, a straw company whose CEO is Yang, the CEO of the Proview companies! Can you say "conspiracy?"
Interestingly, in China, such conspiracies carry a death penalty.
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