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China The Courts Apple

Apple To Pay $60 Million Over iPad Trademark Dispute 120

Posted by samzenpus
from the money-fixes-everything dept.
tekgoblin writes "Today a Chinese court has stated Apple, Inc. has agreed to pay a Chinese company $60 Million dollars to settle their infamous iPad name dispute. In 2006 Apple purchased the Taiwanese rights to the name 'iPad' from the company Proview Electronics. In China however, the trademarked name was still owned by Proview Technologies, a Shenzhen based subsidiary of Proview Electronics. Since 2011, Proview Technologies has battled Apple in the Xicheng district court and in 2012 the Santa Clara Superior Court. Both cases are still ongoing."
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Apple To Pay $60 Million Over iPad Trademark Dispute

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...die by the sword.

    • by arkane1234 (457605) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:09AM (#40517333) Journal

      Especially against the Chinese. I mean, they're paramount for proper trademark usage!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "So you see, judge, we NEED to block sales of the Galaxy Nexus. Those big Chinese meanies made us give them the very little lunch money that we could scrabble together because of our iPad name that we totally made up, is completely unique, and was not at all predicted by two-bit sketch comedy writers and if anyone says anything different well then they're fat stupid fat stupidheads. Because of that, we're feeling really really depressed and now everyone else's phones are selling better than ours, so we in

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @12:04PM (#40518381)

      Seems like it's "One China, except when two Chinas can charge you twice"

  • by CountBrass (590228) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:08AM (#40517319)

    US companies are forbidden by law to pay bribes so they have to go about it a round about way.

    This is just the price of doing business in China.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:11AM (#40517353)
      China protects its companies (many of which are at least partially state owned). The US does not. One of the reasons so much manufacturing is done in China is because that's the only way to sell there. China puts high import taxes on goods made elsewhere, while the US does not. So if a company wants to sell their product in China they can only do so in a cost effective way by making said product there. If the US matches Chinas tarifs things would be very different.
      • Not just that you can't sell 'directly' there. Your company can make a joint venture with the government and sell that product.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:38AM (#40517603)

        The US does not protect its companies? Have you seen the way copyright protections are headed? They're not for the people.

      • by k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:40AM (#40517615)

        China protects its companies (many of which are at least partially state owned). The US does not. One of the reasons so much manufacturing is done in China is because that's the only way to sell there.

        This I think reflects more the failure of laissez faire capitalism. Capitalism without controls or government intervention only works if everybody plays fair. And it's not just tariffs. China's labor laws are less strictly enforced than in most First World countries. Of course these two reasons by themselves cannot account for China's popularity over, say, India as a manufacturing hub. I suspect China's advantage is that it's easier for a corporation to do business with what is effectively another large corporation.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by clarkkent09 (1104833)

          Free market capitalism is actually better for us even if they don't "play fair", subsidize their companies or impose tariffs on our exports. Why should we stop them from providing us with cheap state subsidized manufacturing service?

          • by fnj (64210)

            You don't see a problem with paying them to industrialize on a breathtaking scale while we completely demolish our own industrial base? What do you think is going to happen when the prices they charge us skyrocket and we don't have anyone stupid enough to finance rebuilding our own industrial base?

            • He's from the Heritage foundation and consequently doesn't know what capitalism is....
            • What do you mean by paying them to industrialize? They are really paying us by selling us stuff at lower price than it's worth for us to make it. Not to mention that the manufacturing that is done in China mostly benefit the Western companies higher up the food chain. Apple makes far more profit per iPhone than the Chinese company that manufactures it. As for them destroying our industrial base, then switching to higher prices, that's a fantasy. The world does not have only two players, it has many. China

              • by fnj (64210)

                I must admit that's a novel form of contrary reasoning.

                China's industrial expansion is paid for by consumers in the US and other countries sending a lot of currency to China in return for goods. To think otherwise is just fantasy.

                The destruction of our industrial base is our own doing, by offshoring all the manufacturing, and by simply buying instead of manufacturing.

                The rising prices of the imported goods is not some nefarious scheme by evil foreigners; rather a blatantly obvious consequence of a rising st

                • It's not about the money. Money is just a tool for keeping the score. If I sell you something worth $20 for $10, yes technically you are "paying" me because you are handing me $10 bill, but I am really giving you a greater value than you are giving me. Sure, the prices will rise in China and correspondingly their products will become less competitive and India's or whatever will become more competitive. I know our schools are gone so far to the left that they are almost falling off the edge, but do they not

                  • by Fjandr (66656)

                    Whether he's correct or not, I'm pretty sure the argument is that China is underselling but getting something worth more than the balance in money in return.

                    Money is not the only way to keep score, and even if it is you can turn an interim loss into a long-term gain if you play your cards right. In the case of China, if countries continue to use them for manufacturing to the detriment of their own manufacturing bases, the long-term effect will be China making far more in the balance by eventually ending up

            • You seem to not understand what "we" actually mean. Short sighted corporations are not "we" Americans. The Corporations are short sighted because that is what investors want. The big institutional investors like big short term profits, and sell before the stock prices collapse once the Corporations have exploited all the short term gains from the market.

      • by peter303 (12292) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:01AM (#40517765)
        Chinese leadership wealth [bloomberg.com] makes Romney look "middle class" in comparison.
      • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:30AM (#40518001)

        Ah, the old protectionism. That boat has sailed a long time ago and free traders have won. Get used to it.

        Btw, the USA is 4th in the world in the standard of living (HDI rankings), China is 101st. Our per capita GDP is around $50K, China's is about $8K. Why do you think their way of doing things is better?

        • Ah, the old protectionism.

          You speak of protectionism as a bad thing. Why do you feel it's bad? I heard much propaganda from the free marketers, but what is your theory?

          • Would you prefer to make your shoes yourself if it costs you $50 in labor and materials even if another person is willing to sell you the exact same pair already made for $10? Would you impose a tariff on that other person of $40 so his shoes cost the same as the ones you make? Why?

            • Would you prefer to make your shoes yourself if it costs you $50 in labor and materials even if another person is willing to sell you the exact same pair already made for $10? Would you impose a tariff on that other person of $40 so his shoes cost the same as the ones you make? Why?

              let's paraphrase your statement to better fit the situation:

              Would you prefer to purchase your shoes from your neighbor if it costs your neighbor $50 in labor and materials even if another person outside your country is willing

              • Look up broken window fallacy. I would also suggest Hazlitt's book Economics in One Lesson (the lesson being to not fall for the broken window fallacy like you are doing in your post). The growth of a nation's economy can never be achieved by a destructive behavior, be it by breaking a window or by buying something worth $10 (market price in this case) for $50. Instead of having a pair of shoes and $40 to spend on other things, you have only a pair of shoes. You are essentially giving your neighbor a gift o

                • by Zaelath (2588189)

                  You analogy fails, this is not the case of destroying your shoes to encourage the economy.

                  Free trade is valuable for those interested in weath concentration. Bill's model is far more about wealth distribution. No one gets rich doing piece work, they get enough to survive, perhaps quite well, but not rich. If you want to get rich you need to corner the market by finding a (by local standards) slave workforce in another market that you can exploit to create product for you which you can sell at a higher profi

                • Yes, but the playing fields must be level, Chinese goods should be taxed to compensate for their appalling work conditions, terrible pollution and the cost of the Carbon to make it there and ship it over. I would rather make it locally, pay locals and do it cleaner. The current system benefits only mega-corporations, real standards of living have been falling since the 70s. Lots of people work casually who don't want to, work two jobs or have both parents working because they have to, just to support their
          • by Anonymous Coward

            In short, it doesn't work in the long run. Protectionism at its best takes from something you are good at (making you less competitive there) and puts it into something else that you suck (relatively) at. Countries fund protection by taking from successful industries (taxes), people (taxes), printing money (inflation), borrowing (bonds), and of course blood (war). Over time you run out of funding money either cause no one wants to give you anymore, your people are tired of low standard of living, your mo

          • by jopsen (885607)
            What generally happens when we trade with other countries (ie. no protectionism) is that other countries become more wealthy. This, means less poverty and other unpleasent things, I think that's good.

            Also keep in mind that just because the chinees comes out of poverty and gets a decent living standart, doesn't mean that you go poor.
            In fact most likely, the chineese will start bying products from the US.

            Anyways, I think history indicate that trade is good for everybody and strongly encourages peace.
            • What generally happens when we trade with other countries (ie. no protectionism) is that other countries become more wealthy. This, means less poverty and other unpleasent things, I think that's good.

              Good for them.

              Anyways, I think history indicate that trade is good for everybody and strongly encourages peace.

              citation please.

        • by fnj (64210)

          If you took your head out of the sand and extrapolated the trends, you might try giving a fuck about where this process is going to end up.

          I'll make it easy [indexmundi.com] for you.

          Per capita GDP, 2002 -> 2010, China +111%, US +30%
          GDP real growth rate, 2002 to 2010 average, China +8.3%/annum, US +2.2%/annum
          GDP purchasing power parity, 2002 -> 2010, China +77%, US +41%
          Unemployment rate trend, 2004/2009, China 10.1/4.3%, US 5.5/9.3%
          External debt, exchange rate basis, 2002 -> 2011, China +172%, US +1522%

          • You can't compare the growth in a developing economy like China to a developed one like the USA. In a developed country the workforce is already mostly employed in highly efficient work and, baring some major revolutions in productivity through some new technology, the growth comes from marginal improvements. In China the growth comes from moving the population in bulk from extremely inefficient participation in the economy or no participation at all (subsistence farming etc) to moderately efficient which

            • by fnj (64210)

              It will get harder and harder though and the days of double digit growth in China will be over long before it reaches anything like the US per capita GDP

              Why - because that's how wishful thinking wants it to play out?

              • No, because he gives the impression of having a clue what he's taking about. Comparing percentages between developed and developing nations is plain silly. Let's say this year I'll pay you one dollar to shine my shoes, and next year I increase that to two. Wow, 100% salary increase. Next year I double it again to 200%. Wow, I get nowhere near that kind of annual raise. Guess I'll soon be the one shining your shoes. Wait, in ten years time you're still only earning 512 dollars per year, compared to my consid
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Which is why I've said for years we need to slam down hard on any globalist who starts the "free trade" bullshit, because what we have now is NOT free trade, what we have is a handful of countries rigging the living hell out of the system and we take it like good little corporate drones. What we need is FAIR trade, where our goods and services are freely exchanged for their goods and services on an even playing field which is pretty fucking far from what we have right now with India and China. Oh and we nee

      • by teg (97890)

        China protects its companies (many of which are at least partially state owned). The US does not.

        Sure [english.rfi.fr] it [norway-geneva.org] doesn't [thecasualtruth.com].

      • by fnj (64210)

        China protects its companies (many of which are at least partially state owned). The US does not.

        HA HA HA HA! Maybe not the same way, but they are mollycoddled with disgusting patent and other legal protections that represent cozy bedfellow status. Oh, and seems to me like some prominent US corporations are largely state owned as well.

        And what about the US protectionist solar energy tariffs?

      • That's not what's happening here. Proview is in bankruptcy... and was seeking a windfall to save the company. Apple was generous to even go to court with them. Had Apple waited another year, maybe Proview would be no more, and Apple could have used the name in the Chinese market without dispute. Here [theverge.com], FWIW, is their product. The Proview iPAD is not a tablet computer but a 800x600px 15" CRT-based 256Mhz AIO Linux desktop w/ 32MB RAM and a 16GB HDD... maybe its just me but I think it looks all too familiar. [everymac.com]
        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          It doesn't work like that. If a company goes bust but has potentially valuable IP that can be litigated over then someone will buy the IP and head to court.

          • gee.. I wonder who might have had the cash just to pick up that IP if/when it became available?
      • If the US matches Chinas tarifs things would be very different.

        Indeed, because we would likely be at war with China over it. Tensions flare up every time China senses even a hint of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods that aren't a result of an ongoing dispute (e.g. solar panels). Frankly I'm surprised the U.S. govt doesn't have bigger balls when it comes to growing trade deficit with China.

      • China protects its companies (many of which are at least partially state owned). The US does not.

        Not necessarily true. The US provides subsidies to its corporations especially ones that export.

        China puts high import taxes on goods made elsewhere, while the US does not.

        There is no free trade agreement with China and the US does impose punitive duties on goods that threaten US companies with dumping. Solar panels is the latest example of the U.S. raising duties on chinese imports.

      • by Malc (1751)

        China protects its companies [...]. The US does not. [...] One of the reasons so much manufacturing is done in China is because that's the only way to sell there. China puts high import taxes on goods made elsewhere, while the US does not

        Bullshit. Have you seen how many jobs have been lost in British Columbia (a province in a country that is the US's neighbour, ally and largest trading partner) at various times due to the softwood lumber dispute? The WTO ruled in favour of Canada, but that seemed to make l

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:37AM (#40517591)

      US companies are forbidden by law to pay bribes so they have to go about it a round about way.

      Oh spare me. Its called hiring an onsite expediter, not all this legal foolishness. Sometimes you have to hire a whole team of expediters. All above board, income taxes paid and everything. Amazing how nothing happens over there until you "hire" an "expediter" and then magically everything works. Sometimes they're called "inspectors". There's a whole culture organized around it.

    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      Incorrect. Certain bribes are generally not illegal, such as facilitation payments
  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the couple minutes it takes them to make it back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      "Say there Peg, would you be a gem and take some money out of petty cash and send it to China. M'kay? Thanks."
  • by sribe (304414) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:15AM (#40517397)

    In 2006 Apple purchased the Taiwanese rights to the name 'iPad' from the company Proview Electronics. In China however, the trademarked name was still owned by Proview Technologies, a Shenzhen based subsidiary of Proview Electronics.

    According to Proview's creditors. There's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

    • by chrb (1083577) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:28AM (#40517513)

      According to Proview's creditors. There's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

      No there isn't - there are only Apple's claims on one side, versus Proview's claims and this settlement on the other. Apple have never disclosed the text of the contract between their front "IP Application Devlopment" and Proview Electronics. The U.S. case was dismissed because the U.S. court decided it had no jurisdiction to rule on the contract. From all we know right now, Apple may have signed a contract that didn't include China rights, or that failed to specify exactly where the parent company did own the rights, and whether or not that included China. International multi-jurisdictional law is complicated, perhaps Apple's lawyers made a mistake. Or maybe they didn't. But either way, unless you know of someone who has actually seen the contract, then there is no real evidence here. Infer what you will from the fact that Apple settled.

      • Also Apple might have gotten ProView down to an acceptable figure to make it all go away. ProView was asking for billions if I remember correctly.
      • by samkass (174571) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:11AM (#40517839) Homepage Journal

        http://allthingsd.com/20120216/take-a-look-at-some-of-apples-evidence-in-proview-ipad-dispute/ [allthingsd.com]

        From everything I've read, Proview actually signed the agreement then backed out when they found out it was Apple because they figured they could milk them for a lot more money. I guess, it being Chinese law, they were right.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Proview was looking for $400M in a settlement - basically enough to rescue them from bankruptcy. They got 15% of that.

          This is Apple writing a check, and putting "Fuck off." on the memo line. This is "go away" money.

      • by sribe (304414) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:17AM (#40517887)

        No there isn't - there are only Apple's claims on one side, versus Proview's claims and this settlement on the other. Apple have never disclosed the text of the contract between their front "IP Application Devlopment" and Proview Electronics. The U.S. case was dismissed because the U.S. court decided it had no jurisdiction to rule on the contract. From all we know right now, Apple may have signed a contract that didn't include China rights, or that failed to specify exactly where the parent company did own the rights, and whether or not that included China. International multi-jurisdictional law is complicated, perhaps Apple's lawyers made a mistake. Or maybe they didn't. But either way, unless you know of someone who has actually seen the contract, then there is no real evidence here. Infer what you will from the fact that Apple settled.

        You're wrong about that. Both the entire contract, and a good number of emails from the negotiations leading up to the contract, came out during the case. The emails are particularly damning, in that the people who said the contract must be signed in Taiwan because that's where the rights were actually held, were the same people who later said "aha! you did not sign in mainland China!"

        • You're probably talking about these e-mails [allthingsd.com], and yeah, they're pretty damning for Proview. They made it clear that they were selling the rights for the mainland Chinese subsidiary.

      • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:31AM (#40518007)

        According to Proview's creditors. There's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

        No there isn't - there are only Apple's claims on one side, versus Proview's claims and this settlement on the other.

        You apparently missed the case in Hong Kong that preceded this one [theregister.co.uk]. Proview first attempted to sue Apple there back in 2010, and the judge came down extremely hard on Proview, ruling that they had engaged in exploitative behavior (I believe I also saw the word "conspiracy" being used in some other reports at the time). The person at the head of both Proview branches is the same person, so he had full knowledge of the business dealings, and the Hong Kong judge, who we have every reason to believe was privy to the details of the contract, ruled that Proview had indeed sold Apple the worldwide rights to the trademark, both for the Taiwanese branch and the PRC subsidiary. Proview only sued Apple in the PRC after that previous case failed and they declared bankruptcy.

        What you should infer from this settlement is that Apple didn't want to take chances with their multi-billion USD business in a court system that may play favorites with a local company.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:16AM (#40517401)
    I'm betting the flood of Apple investment in Chinese factories during these proceedings was the larger part of the deal with the Chinese government to allow Apple to use the trademark. The 60 million is more for show so Apple can be painted as being in the wrong instead of being shook down. In the end, Apple will continue to make billions and the Chinese government will get a cut.
    • by Shag (3737)

      In the end, Apple will continue to make billions and the Chinese government will get a cut.

      And Proview will probably still go bankrupt, since this is only 15% of the amount they were asking for.

      Unless they have rights to a whole lot of other product names, or something. :)

  • If they licensed the name from the parent corp then how can a subsidiary company make a claim on it? Surely a license from the parent by implication means a license from all the parts of the corporation? Or is chinese law just wierd?

    • There are probably a number of technicalities for the transfer to be legal which did not occur. Most of the time it probably would not have mattered. My personal opinion is that if ProView (parent) knew that Apple was buying the trademark, they would have asked for more money. Also there might have been prohibitions on using shell companies to purchase the trademark which Apple did.
    • by slew (2918)

      IANAL, but the structure of many multi-national corporations are weird and complicated. The easiest way I've found to think about it is to treat multi-nationals as a big family with a super-patriarch/matriarch instead of thinking of a multi-national as a single person.

      For example, generally, in each country a multi-national generally sets up it's own division of the company which is chartered to do business in that location, which is usually structured as a mostly owned subsidiary of the parent company. T

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      maybe mainland china rights don't have shit to do with the taiwanese branch juridically?
      maybe the taiwanese branch was in no position to license away the trademark for use in china, since it never held it in the first place.

      or maybe, maybe they KNEW apple was buying it or at least had a good hunch on it and decided to screw apple for acting through a front company(to pay a lower price).

  • They should move the factories too, but Apple is too entrenched. The Chinese would still be able to get their iPhones the old way by mail order or US agents.

    Customers in China account for 12% of Apple revenues. This may double soon as their demand is insatiable.
    • Math never has been your strongest subject, has it?

      Apple earned almost $8B in revenue last quarter alone in China. So they pull out and lose their ability to legally sell there, over a hissy fit equating to pocket change?

      Let's equate this to a typical Slashdotter job: pizza delivery. Your boss asks you to buy a $2 nametag, and out of principle, you quit a job that pays $400 a week (considering your mom isn't charging you rent, that's a pretty sweet gig)

  • Its amazing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440)

    how buthurt they get when someone rips them off

    • Proview didn't rip Apple off. Apple didn't rip off Proview. What are you talking about? This is a case of a trademark dispute. Apple claims it was sold to them, Proview claims otherwise. The e-mails between the two companies [allthingsd.com] support Apple's case rather well, as does the fact that a Hong Kong judge ruled that Proview was engaging in exploitation in suing Apple in the way it was.

  • other stories have noted that Apple bought the iPad trademark in 2007 from Protech, worldwide... except for China. "hello again, I now have copies of the negatives for sale, and I already have one bid..."

  • by devleopard (317515) on Monday July 02, 2012 @12:57PM (#40519025) Homepage

    I know a hot topic gets multiple selections, so do Slashdot editors pick the one with the single worst article? This news items is covered [pcmag.com] in [cnet.com] several [wsj.com] reputable [arstechnica.com] places [huffingtonpost.com], yet, they selected a submission that looks like it was written by an 8th grader. They use AP's Tweet to make it look like an official AP story/headline. There's brilliantly nonsensical lines like "Proview is continuing their lawsuit in Santa Clara for $1.5 billion dollars while allging fraud and unfair competition. The case was soon after thrown out by a judge."

  • "Chinese Court Sides with Nationalistic Blackmailers Against Apple in Blatant Racism."

    Tell it like it is.

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."

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