Feeds

back to article Chinese company demands $38m, 'apology' from Apple

A Chinese trademark-infringement case against Apple's right to use the name "iPad" that has been rumbling along since October 2010 has taken another turn: the Shenzhen company involved in the imbroglio now wants Cupertino to be levied a $38m fine – and it wants an apology. "We are asking the court to order Apple to stop selling …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Bronze badge
Pirate

Time for Apple to move manufacturing to United States (Sarcasm Alert)

Given that Apple supposedly has a "social conscience" and the chinese based manufacturer of Apple products has a very bad reputation for how it handles it's "employees" (some question if they are employees or slaves), NOW would be the perfect time to move it's iPad manufacturing lock, stock and barrel to the United States.

This will solve numerous issues, the least of which that a direputable chinese holding company and the less than fathomable chinese legal system (Oxymoron Alert) could stop the production of Apples best selling products.

Since any new Apple electronics manufacturing plant in the US would be paid for by various tax breaks and Industrial Development agencies (politicians would fall all over each other in a riot to be able to announce such a manufacturing opportunity), Apple would hardly have to put out a dime of their own money.

Apple could look even more smug and sanctimonious than they already pretend to be; by saying that they are helping put "Americans Back to Work" through ads that look like WPA Posters during the Great Depression (Similar to Apple's great commercials when they were starting out).

Hey, you never know.......... seems like a real "WIN/WIN" proposition to me.

6
9
Silver badge
FAIL

"(some question if they are employees or slaves)"

They're employees.

Slaves don't get paid above-average wages for working.

Slaves don't get paid, full stop.

6
9

@ sean

What a foolish statement you just made sir.

3
6
Anonymous Coward

No doubt Apple could get someone to pick up the tab for the factory construction, but they would have to pay their staff US wages. How many iPads will they sell at $2000 each?

3
1
Silver badge

WHEN U CONSIDER....

a Chinese company copied the BMW x5 and sold it in China, BMW took them to court....a Chinese one..

And LOST! (top gear last night!)

What chance do Apple have?

3
0
FAIL

Slaves

@Sean - You need to study what slavery is actually about, and I don't just mean slavery of Africans in the America's, a horrific, yet small part of what slavery is and was.

Many slaves through history have been able to earn all sorts of things, in some places at some times it has even been possible for slaves to own slaves.

3
1
Bronze badge
FAIL

@sean

Would you work for that level of pay?

2
3
Silver badge

"... the chinese based manufacturer of Apple products has a very bad reputation for how it handles it's "employees"..."

It seems you don't understand something, the workers in the factories work there because those are the _best_ jobs they can get. One of the workers killed in the explosion not too long ago, Lai Xiaodong, moved some distance, had a degree and one of the better jobs in the plant. He worked there because in all likelihood it was better than the alternatives and he was free to leave any time he liked. Certainly the working conditions were / are terrible but think for just a second and consider that if those horrible conditions are some of the best jobs available, imagine just how bad the rest of the jobs are.

Apple and the other companies who contract labor in China have the problem of being stuck in between profits and working conditions. If the large corporate leaders like Apple, with their monster profits, won't budge to improve the conditions; what hope to the workers of contract manufactures of smaller companies who aren't as able to effect change?

8
1
Bronze badge

@nlsd

Work for those wages or starve/freeze to death? Hmm, now let me think about that 'choice' for a moment.

>Sarcasm.mode enable

Besides, you can't have slavery in a Socialist/Communist country. The state manages everything.

>Sarcasm.mode disable

5
0
Anonymous Coward

@GitMeMyShootinIrons

Actually, one of the tiny number of good things that has always been a side-effect of communism is good employment, and one of the main driving forces behind nostalgia for the DDR is the huge rise in unemployment after the West ran out of money to rebuild the East after the Wall fell. I think, if you wanted to be a realist, you would probably say that slavery (and I don't include work carried out by convicted criminals as slavery, I think that's a whole other deplorable issue) is less likely in a communist country, because of the worker ideal. There's no doubt that communism is a bad thing for almost everyone involved, but that doesn't mean that it's all bad.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

@hartley and his ilk

I suspect, no, having been there, I know that such wages are good for that region. That is to say, they pay for decent food and accommodation and leave more than average over. As others point out, if the alternative is slaving for barely enough to hold body and soul together on the land, in a street, down a mine, in a basic office or shop (shop work is not well paid in the "West" and definitely not wonderful elsewhere) or in a clothes factory or turning out cheap dinner plates or begging, even you may have a different point of view.

Now, if in, say, Switzerland or Norway, I was being paid an average American wage and given only American annual holidays (12 days a year for most people I believe), that would be exploitation.

In other words, wages are relative to the cost of living where one is living and, unfortunately for your tender conscience, so are working and living conditions.

The reason so many firms, from computer makers to tee-shirt and jeans makers, sub-contract their work to China, Taiwan, Hungary, Tunisia or wherever is very simple: people like us will or can not pay the prices if these things were made in our own countries.

People in these columns moan now about the "high" cost of Apple products, for instance. They remark, scandalised, at the unsubsidised price of a top-end Samsung mobile or a Vaio PC. They will spend more on travel than they save in order to shop in Primark or Lidl or Aldi, to avoid paying a "fair" price for clothes or food. They spend hours cobbling together an ill-matched assortment of bits to build their own PC at a lower cost, while not questioning how many people would lose their jobs if we all did that (and somehow equating overall performance and worth with the nominal speed of the fastest component).

Well, no IQ test to write comments (and sometimes articles :))

3
3

"The reason so many firms, from computer makers to tee-shirt and jeans makers, sub-contract their work to China, Taiwan, Hungary, Tunisia or wherever is very simple: people like us will or can not pay the prices if these things were made in our own countries."

Not true. There are many manufacturing companies in the UK alone that compete with the import market. Yes, they are more expensive, but not so expensive we can't afford them. Better yet, they're better quality, so last longer. Take Jeans: I was buying imported Jeans as they were cheap. They lasted a few months before they fell apart. Buying a locally produced pair (the factory isn't far from where I live) was more expensive (nearly double the cost of the imported pair) and lasted three times as long, so I saved money in the long run.

So, people see cheap and buy cheap, and a huge profit is made all down the chain (apart from the workers in the sweat shops), or they look for local produce and buy quality and a smaller profit is made down a shorter chain, including a reasonable wage in the not-so-sweaty sweat shop.

Your money, your choice, but the only reason we're reliant on China is companies want bigger profits, and that means buying from China.

3
0
Joke

"They lasted a few months before they fell apart."

I hope you weren't wearing them on the London Tube when that happened.

0
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

@GitMeMyShootinIrons

>if you wanted to be a realist, you would probably say that slavery.... is less likely in a communist country

Dude, ever heard of the Gulags? Chinese re-education camps? Do you know what a zek was?

Slavery may indeed be less likely in a socialist country with an actual social conscience, but don't confuse socialism with communism like our American friends tend to do, albeit in the opposite direction.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

> a direputable chinese holding company and the less than fathomable chinese legal system (Oxymoron Alert) could stop the production of Apples best selling products

Also perfectly possible on the legal system of the good old US of A... Thus it would solve nothing.

2
0
Bronze badge
Facepalm

Sorry for the spelling error & reply

Oops, I missed an S in disreputable. I do not believe that the US legal system would acknowledge this chinese holding company if there were any opportunity to have Apple products made in the USA. Note that few if any of the Galaxy Tab vs iPad design arguements held much water here in the US.

No, there would be too many political photo opportunities for any politician (same as Lawyer) to be on the side of a Chinese manufacturer.

0
0
Gimp

SSDD

This really should not surprise anyone as "fake" lawsuits are part or the PRCs sabre rattling/negotiation bag of tricks.

Any business that uses PRC slave labor assumes this risk.

Stock holders and regulators should consider this when the execs are looking to move manufacturing abroad to make more room in the budget for bigger bonuses.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Apple seems to have a history of ignoring registered trademarks that belong to others until after they release products using that trademark. This unfortunate behavior makes it much more difficult to simply dismiss lawsuits like this as being baseless.

5
4
Anonymous Coward

You mean an history of * licensing * registered trademarks, right?

Which they also did in this case, but were clearly tricked re the extent of the territorial claims.

1
2

I mean an history of licensing registered trademarks after releasing their product. It the forgiveness vs. permission issue.

I don't know the details of the case, so I can't say if anyone was tricked.

With the $16 selling price, I would expect the lawyers to be a little more diligent.

0
0

They have it all wrong

"We are asking the court to order Apple to stop selling and marketing the iPad in China."

If they want to get the attention of Apple, forget a court order for them to stop sellign them in China, go for the jugular and prevent them from being exported. Then Apple cannot sell them anywhere. That will get their attention and more than an apology, they will get an ass kissing.

38 million? That is like Dr. Evil asking for $1 million dollars from the UN. Apple has billions in the bank, so they need to add some zeros to their amount.

5
4
FAIL

For someone called Lance you're not very sharp, are you? If they stopped Foxconn etc from shipping the products, that would cost Chinese business billions (they do actually get paid for building them you know. Even if they don't pass a lot of that money on to the poor sods on the production line) - probably more than any legal case could hope to bring in. I doubt very much if the PRC is dumb enough to basically entirely alienate a massive income stream for the sake of a piddling law suit. I'm sure there are plenty of other places who would be happy to welcome the likes of Apple, given they promise employment for tens of thousands of people and a huge influx of foreign currency.

iPads can be built in other places than China. Not immediately, and not as cheaply but they can. Foxconn don't have a monopoly on manufacturing. They're just the cheapest place. If they can't be used, they'll just got to the next cheapest.

Jon

7
2

Ahhhh yes, nothing like personal attacks to get your point across. For a name like John, you are full of shit aren't you.

Who says that production would actually stop. Once the court order came in, don't you think Apple would want to settle and settle quick? See how that works. Right now, Apple can just keep ignoring them until trial day, drag the trial on, appeal, stall some more, appeal, stall. etc. Having products that cannot leave will get their attention real quick. Apple would be coughing up a lot more than $38 million, they would be asking to buy the rights to the iPad name now wouldn't they? So, who wasn't very bright?

China has some of the lowest wages anywhere and can handle building almost anything. Sure there are other countries that have low wages but don't have the export capabilities that China has.

2
3

@ "They have it all wrong"

You're right that denying Apple the ability to export their product would get their fruity attention. But a law suit for $38 million, imo, will produce the same results and take the pressure off the district court to step into the arena of international trade. The lawyers for Proview don't care how long this lasts; the lawyers for Apple do.

Proview's lawyers released the information about the dummy Corp that bought the trademark. Perhaps that doesn't mean much at el reg, but it means a lot in the "Middle Kingdom".

0
0
Bronze badge

Eviler?

Dr Evil could be eviLER by mumbling BuMmilBillion, and infer that the * symbols are appropriately placed, making the new tidy sum difficult to pronounce...:

or:

1E+24

or:

1000000000000000000000000

0
0

$38 million is chump change to Apple. They make more than that in PROFIT every single DAY! If they lost, all they would have to do is in reach in their pocket and pull that out.

0
0
Thumb Up

"If they want to get the attention of Apple, forget a court order for them to stop sellign them in China, go for the jugular and prevent them from being exported."

you got that right :)

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2012/02/13/apple_proview_china_ipad/

so what do you predict for longer term given apple have now pushed up the PR boat for perceived worker improvements for the next few investors reports etc sham, given the existing 3rd party reports of pay (even with excessive overtime etc) being barely enough to live at local rates (cant find the URL right now as its been several months since i read it on an obscure site)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/02/13/us-apple-foxconn-idUKTRE81C1I520120213

Apple subjects Foxconn, partners to labor scrutiny

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Pint

Slavery wasn't abolished only because of a social concience.It was also abolished... etc...

There, fixed it for you. No need to thank me.

0
0

Apple: We are sorry. But forget the $38 million.

0
0
Childcatcher

The Reg doubts there will be an apology any time soon.

And who dares to argue with The Reg?

But the case is getting more and more interesting or convoluted.

"As is often the case in international trademark matters, the case is a convoluted one. According to Xie, Proview Shenzhen registered the iPad trademark in 2001. An associated company, Proview Taiwan, sold the trademark to a UK company, IP Application Development Limited, in 2009 for £35,000 ($55,000), according to Guangdong's Nanfang Daily.

That UK company – which was founded right before the sale and is now listed by Level Business as a "dormant company" – then turned around and sold the iPad trademark to Apple for the princely sum of £10 ($16)."

Until now the possibility of fraud existed only on the Proview side. Was Proview, the parent Corp., complicit in the phony sale of the trademark, iPad, to Apple?

Now we find out that IP(iPad?) Application Development Limited bought the trademark in 2009 for £35,000. And then sold it to Apple for £10 and then went dormant. Oh yeah, IPADL was founded right before they bought the trademark from Proview.

And today we learn that Proview is arguing it s case in the media, which can't be good for Apple. And it's going to ask the court to ban the sales of iPads in China.

What with the criticism China got for backing Russia on Syria in the Security Council, I'm going go out on a limb and say Proview is in the catbird seat.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

It's actually quite simple.

IPADL was created by order of Apple only for the sale of the trademark, otherwise people would have guessed Apple's new product before it was announced.

After the official announcement the cloak company "sold" the trademark for a token amount.

The only convoluted bit in this story is the relationship between Priview Taiwan and Proview China.

0
0

You may be right.

If, during the negotiations for the sale, IPADL's lawyers were asked whether or not they were acting as agent for any other entity, including Apple, and they denied it, it's a spanner in the works. Only the lawyers for the two corporations know what transpired then. Maybe the translator. And, for all we know, it may be alluded to in the contract for sale.

As this won't be litigated in the US, a Chinese court might view both actions as fraud and cancel the contract for sale, which would leave Proview as the trademark holder in China and Apple having to pay them royalties to sell iPads in China. And probably pay a royalty for iPads already sold there.

China is not a small market and Apple wants to be there.

0
0
Pint

IP Application Development Limited = IPADL = iPad Limited

Someone must have thought themselves so smart for thinking up that one !

Backslapping and pints all round with Apples legal team lol

0
0
WTF?

@ Metavisor

There's another reason IPADL was the buyer of the trademark. When a seller is sitting across the table from one of the largest corporations on the planet, who wants to buy something the seller owns, a seller might ask more than a buyer wants to pay.

Then consider this interesting turn of events:

Apple set up a dummy corporation to hide the real buyer of the trademark. Proview had its subsidiary, who did not own the trademark, act as seller.

Business as usual.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Perspective

Based on Apple's most recent quarterly report, $38million is (based on back of envelope sums) 6 hours' profit or 2 hours' revenue.

Ouch, that will really sting.

1
0
Bronze badge
Joke

Finance

Ahhh, British business at its best: buy for £35,000 and sell for £10. Doesn't that make you proud to be born in blighty, and warm the cockles of your heart under that Union jack vest? Fantastic work, chaps; just what we need. Now pass that entrepreneurial spirit, I want a go.

1
2
This topic is closed for new posts.