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Apple Could Lose $1.6 Billion In iPad Lawsuit 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-could-stall-in-court-indefinitely dept.
redletterdave writes "Proview Technology, which currently uses the 'iPad' name on several of its products including computer monitors, stands to win up to $1.6 billion and an apology from Apple for allegedly infringing upon Proview's trademarked name to use on its bestselling tablet. Proview International, which owns subsidiaries Proview Technology in Shenzhen and Proview Electronics in Taiwan, originally registered the name 'iPad' in Taiwan in 2000 and mainland China in 2001. Proview eventually sued Apple in 2011, and even though the Cupertino-based company retaliated with a counter-suit of its own, Apple lost the case in local Chinese courts. Depending on the court's findings, Apple could be fined anywhere from $38 million to the $1.6 billion that Proview is seeking. In addition to the money, Proview also wants Apple to apologize. 'We have prepared well for a long-term legal battle,' said one of Proview's lawyers."
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Apple Could Lose $1.6 Billion In iPad Lawsuit

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  • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:01PM (#38959439)
    Actually, if you read the piece, they bought the name off the company before they started marketing the iPad, but now the company is coming back and claiming that Apple only purchased the name for use outside China. So either they did a real dumb, or this company is trying to use local corruption to shake money out of a foreign company that they backstabed and are trying to double dip on the deal.
  • by PickyH3D (680158) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:01PM (#38959453)

    Apple supposedly purchase the trademark in 2009 from Proview, but it appears that they may have bought it from their Taiwanese counterparts [geek.com], which the Chinese portion is using to its advantage. China being China, they are choosing to side with the Chinese-based business.

    If China awards the company anything remotely close to $1 billion, then I hope Apple pulls out of China. Wishful thinking as it is, it would be interesting to watch. I also hope all such companies fail, but that's pretty obvious.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:02PM (#38959467)
    They did search. And paid the company for use of the name. The Chinese company seems to be trying to double dip.
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Informative)

    by TankSpanker04 (1266400) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:12PM (#38959593)

    It's definitely the latter. They pulled the same stunt when they released the iPhone, a name already belonging to Cisco/Linksys.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys_iPhone#Apple_iPhone_and_trademark_dispute [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alan Shutko (5101) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:16PM (#38959635) Homepage

    You need to read the history on this one before commenting. It's not a simple matter. In this case, Apple bought the mark from an intermediary who bought the global rights from Proview (Taiwan). Apple claims they bought the rights outright, Proview claims that the china rights were held by a second subsidiary, Proview (Shenzhen)

    From http://www.marbridgeconsulting.com/marbridgedaily/archive/article/53231/update_apple_appeals_ipad_trademark_lawsuit#When:12:00:00Z [marbridgeconsulting.com]

    Apple laid forth a number of views in its appeal, including that the case should be adjudged according to the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; that Proview (Shenzhen) had given written authorization for Proview International Holdings' Taiwan subsidiary, Proview Electronic, to sign a trademark transfer agreement, under the principle of unnamed agency, meaning that all iPad-related trademarks should be considered by the court to have already been transferred by Proview (Shenzhen) to Apple. Apple will also name Proview Electronic as a defendant in the case.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:20PM (#38959691)

    They did search. And paid the company for use of the name. The Chinese company seems to be trying to double dip.

    Nonsense. Apple only paid for the use of the trademark within Taiwan. They didn't negotiate for its use in the rest of the world.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:24PM (#38959729)

    There's no hypocrisy. Apple bought the iPad trademark from a Proview subsidiary. I don't know Chinese law, but it's difficult to see how Proview can now sue for it's misuse.

    Prediction: Apple will win at appeal.

  • by Americano (920576) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:56PM (#38960159)

    Here's [electronista.com] more.

    At the core of the dispute is a 2006 agreement in which Apple bought the iPad trademark from Taiwan's Proview Electronics for $55,000, by way of a front business known as IP Application Development. Proview says, though, that Apple didn't win the rights to the Chinese trademark, since those were owned by Proview Technology in Shenzhen, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based Proview International.

    So it sounds like Apple perhaps fucked up and they didn't secure the rights in China like they thought they were, or the Taiwanese company deliberately misled them, waiting until they were in financial trouble to cash in this particular chip, and say "Surprise, you didn't buy the rights in China like you thought."

    Whichever it is, I suspect it'd be easier and cheaper for Apple to simply buy the company and shutter it than it would be to pay 1.6 billion dollars and lose the right to use the name. Realistically, I think you can expect the companies to settle with Apple being granted the rights to the name, and Proview getting a nice chunk of cash for it.

  • Re:ROC vrs PRC (Score:5, Informative)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:02PM (#38960219)

    The Chinese arm of the company is filing the lawsuit. Not sure witch is the parent company. I would assume the Tiawan based one since that is who Apple paid.

    Both companies are subsidiaries of a larger parent company.

    Proview International, which owns subsidiaries Proview Technology in Shenzhen and Proview Electronics in Taiwan, originally registered the name 'iPad' in Taiwan in 2000 and mainland China in 2001.

    Apple bought the trademark from Proview Electronics, and they are now being sued by Proview Technology. Both companies are owned by Proview International, which is based in Hong Kong.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:24PM (#38960439)

    you realize that Apple relies on cheap Chinese slave labor to make iPads at $499/ea, right? And if Apple pulled out of China they'd have nowhere else to go. America isn't an option because of labor regulations and an expensive workforce. iPads would be up at $1499 and still losing money, iPhones would be $1000 subsidized and America's economy would take a larger nosedive than China's. Brazil? They've already tried that and it's as bad as America.

    Bullshit. The differences in manufacturing costs amount to a few dollars per unit. From the New York Times [nytimes.com]:

    the cost, excluding the materials, of building a $1,500 computer in Elk Grove [California] was $22 a machine. In Singapore, it was $6. In Taiwan, $4.85.

    So we're talking about $22, not $1000. You're off by over an order of magnitude. Sure, moving the supply chains from China to the USA would be a big challenge, but that's a one-time expense.

  • by narcc (412956) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:33PM (#38960533) Journal

    America isn't an option because of labor regulations and an expensive workforce. iPads would be up at $1499 and still losing money

    Bullshit See thisForbes article [forbes.com].

    Using the correct labor costs of assembling an iPad 2 in the U.S., an iPad 2 made in the U.S would cost $445 ($325 for parts + $120 for labor), as opposed to a Chinese iPad’s cost of $335 ($325 for parts + $10 for labor). Assembling the iPad 2 in the U.S. and selling it for $729 would bring Apple’s gross margin down to 39%, not the 15.25% cited to by Mr. Thompson.

    That a 39% margin vs. the current 54% margin.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @06:07PM (#38960893)

    It was iOS. Apple also made an agreement with Cisco before using the name too.

    It was also iPhone. Cisco also had a product called iPhone that they picked up from Linksys. Apple and Cisco had a trademark dispute about it a few years ago.

  • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @06:22PM (#38961035)

    I expect (based on your info) we'll be seeing a massive influx of manufacturing from Apple, Dell, HP, et al.

    How exactly to you reach that sarcastic conclusion based on what GP wrote? His/her point was that the non-material cost differential (I'm assuming this is including shipping the unit from Asia to the US) was about $17 per unit. Obviously when you'r selling tens of millions of units a quarter, this is not an insignificant sum.

    But, that cost increase would not cause Apple to up prices 300% and be unprofitable, which was baseless assertion you made.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:05PM (#38962811)

    One source I read (look it up yourself, took me all of 10 seconds) said Foxconn currently has "over a million" employees (Wikipedia says 920k+ in 2010, and it has likely grown significantly), and several sources (including the New York Times) estimate Apple to be ~40% of Foxconn's business.

    And that's just Foxconn. There are plenty of other subcontractors, suppliers, etc. that employ many more people in China in order to fulfill Apple's manufacturing needs. That's close enough to 500k (for which I clearly said "some estimates say", because they DID) to be in the ballpark. Could be more for all you or I know.

    Dishonest my ass - and it's called math, not implication. Please get a clue before posting next time.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:24AM (#38964375) Journal

    You joke but you have to admit during the MHz wars things were easier to track, faster was better and the PR rating would give you a pretty good idea when it came to AMD VS Intel. Hell look at the old Athlon and Phenom, Athlon was the budget chip, phenom the more high end, the number by the X told you how many cores and faster was better, simple really.

    Now good luck telling shit without a lookup table! Quick tell me what an A4-3300 is? did you say a quad core? WRONG its a dual, WTF? Quick what features separate the i3 2100 from the i5 2500? Does either of those tell you jack shit without a lookup table? NO. Hell the only nice thing i can say is at least AMD isn't playing feature roulette, unlike Intel which you can't tell which ones support which features without a chart, even the bobcat at least does support all the features.

    Frankly i think the whole thing is designed to fuck customers, that is the only reason I can think of. it makes it damned near impossible to do a simple side by side comparison of anything, either from different manufacturers or even of the same manufacturers products, so the ONLY thing people can do is "higher priced must be better" which of course don't really tell you shit except it costs more.

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