China official says Proview owns iPad trademark

April 24, 2012 By ELAINE KURTENBACH , AP Business Writer
In this Feb. 21, 2012 file photo, an Apple Store security worker keeps eyes on customers looking at products at an Apple Store in Beijing. A Chinese court is mediating between Apple Inc. and the Chinese company challenging its right to use the iPad trademark, seeking to get the companies to settle and finesse an awkward standoff over the issue. The Guangdong High Court in southern China, which on Feb. 29 heard Apple's appeal of a ruling against it by a lower court, is seeking to arrange a settlement, said Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer for Proview Electronics Co., Monday, April 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, File)

(AP) -- Apple Inc. risks losing the right to use the iPad trademark in China, a senior official suggested Tuesday, as a Chinese court was seeking to mediate a settlement between the technology giant and a local company challenging its use of the iPad name.

Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, told reporters in Beijing that the government regards Shenzhen Proview Technology as the rightful owner of the trademark for the popular . His remarks could add to pressure on to find a solution to the standoff.

Yan's comments followed news that the Guangdong High Court in is seeking to arrange a settlement in the case. In late February, the court began hearing Apple's appeal of a lower court ruling that favored Proview in the .

"The dispute between Apple and Shenzhen Proview concerning the iPad trademark is going through the judicial process," Yan said in a news conference carried on the Internet.

But he added that "according to our government's laws, Shenzhen Proview is still the lawful representative and user of the trademark."

China has sought to showcase its determination to protect trademarks and other intellectual property, but with hundreds of thousands employed in the assembly of Apple's iPhones and is unlikely to want to disrupt the company's production and marketing in China.

Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer for Proview said the company had expected all along to settle with Apple, with the key sticking point being the amount of money involved.

"It is likely that we will settle out of court. The Guangdong High Court is helping to arrange it and the court also expects to do so," Ma said in a phone interview.

Court officials contacted by phone said they were not authorized to comment on the issue to foreign media.

"Given the wide implications of this case we need to wait to see the final ruling of the court, which will decide the ownership rights for the trademark," Yan said. "We will proceed with the case in a prudent manner."

He said commercial authorities that had received complaints about Apple's use of the iPad trademark were collecting evidence.

"Once the ruling emerges we will handle the case according to the evidence we have," he said.

Chinese courts often try to mediate agreements out of . But it is unclear whether Apple is open to that option.

Proview, a financially troubled maker of computer displays and LED lights, says it registered the iPad trademark more than a decade ago. Apple says Proview sold it worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 2009, though the registration was never transferred for China.

Proview's other worldwide trademarks for the iPad name were owned by another subsidiary of the Proview Group, Taiwan-based Proview Electronics. But the mainland China trademark was registered by Proview.

An Apple spokeswoman, Carolyn Wu, said the company had no new comment on the possibility of a settlement with Proview.

In a statement, Apple reiterated its earlier insistence that it would never "knowingly abuse someone else's trademarks."

The statement adds that Proview "still owe a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a we already paid for."

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3 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
Total shakedown.

Apple filed for trademarks in 2002. Shenzhen Proview filed in 2004 copycat names but with a subtle device differentiation.

Before Shenzhen Proview was granted the trademark, Apple challenged. Apple was denied and their trademark name was then handed to Shenzhen Proview.

Apple now gets to pay a "legit" extortion fee.
3 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
So do Apple's victims, who are also known as "customers".

"Apple now gets to pay a "legit" extortion fee." - inSanenonScience
1 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2012
Apple boobed, face it. The rights to Ipad name was sold in 2009, but Apple's lawyers lack reading comprehension skills. They missed the clause that restricts that right to countries outside of China. Is reading too much work for America?
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2012
Hmm, lets see. Proview *was* a display maker with units in China and Taiwan.

The ownership of the trademark by the Taiwan unit is not in dispute. Negotiations with Proview were authorized by Rowell Yang, chairman of Proview Shenzhen, and the actual transfer agreement to Proview was requested to be sent to Taiwan, and was signed by Ray Mai, head of Shenzhens legal department.

Proview fails and becomes ward of their creditors - STATE BANKS. Who now dispute the sale of the patent based on the assertion that Personnel may have multiple roles or titles within the group, but the question is in what capacity were they acting?

And a STATE OFFICIAL rules that this is proper basis for invalidating the sale of the patent as covering China.

Here is a decent article that doesn't gloss over the details:

Ignore uncited assertions by possibly trolling, grudge, or propaganda front users who rank based on emotion.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2012
It is also worth noting that The Chinese High Court of Hong Kong ruled quite decisively in Apple's favor back in 2010

Direct quote:

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.

*THEN* in 2012 mainland state officials in Shenzhen decided to get involved on the behest of the local (failing) company Proview, and suddenly the price tag is now $2 BILLION.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2012
Oh, and Vendicar_Decarian, if your going to rank me as a one, don't use a dummy account like Pluton, do it yourself.

Or use it to rank yourself a 5, it looks juvenile.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2012
Don't be so hard on V.D., his brain has been suffering for a long time as the VD progresses.

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