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back to article Proview's Apple iPad rights war goes global, reaches ESSEX

Failed Asian monitor biz Proview has filed an amended complaint to a US court against Apple, implicating a company registered in the UK and seeking to regain worldwide rights to the IPAD trademark. The tweaked paperwork details further the alleged deception with which Apple and its fruity cohorts entered into in order to obtain …

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Holmes

Does it really matter? they were OK to sell their trademark to somebody else. Apple doesn't compete with them at all. I think they feel a bit butt-hurt because if they knew they're dealing with Apple they could probably ask for more and I believe this is where the problem is.

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In what way does Apple's iPad not compete with an all-in-one internet machine? Proview's IPAD would have been killed off by direct competition from Apple's iPad quickly, even if Proview weren't already on the edge of the abyss.

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Except for the fact that Proview discontinued their iPAD in 2009, a year before the iPad launch.

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FAIL

Seriously, Proview?

You didn't even think to check with Companies House and perform some due diligence?

And IPAD were quite correct in claiming they weren't going to use the trademark to compete with Proview. But that's not a legally binding contract to ensure that they don't sell said trademark to someone who will.

Lots of companies use this trick to buy trademarks as, otherwise, it'd be like trying to buy a lapsed domain name from some shyster who can see its value to you and will try to gouge you for it.

Proview were clearly aware of Apple's existence at the time and the probability that they'd be interested in buying the rights to such a name. They have only themselves to blame for falling for this. It's Business 101: Trust Nobody.

It's unusual to see a Chinese corporation falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it's great karma. I've dealt with Chinese businesspeople in the past and they're no strangers to stunts like this. Hell, they probably invented many of them.

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Re: Seriously, Proview?

Do Proview make fondleslabs? No. So the iPad isn't competing with anything Proview does. Apple does make monitors like Proview used to, but they don't use the iPad trademark for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Seriously, Proview?

>the iPad isn't competing with anything Proview does.

Its competing in the same Trademark Classes hence the need for a stalking horse, eg IP Application Development would likely be registered as Class 42 in th UK and could therefore co-exist with a primarily Class 9 product like the iPad or the IPAD.

>if Apple has evidence to prove that it owns the disputed trademark in China and across the globe and that Proview is lying, why hasn’t it produced it by now?

....because its being implying it bought the Trademark from Proview and not IPAD Ltd?

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Re: Re: Seriously, Proview?

So using your logic,

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/24/iphone_gas_stoves/

The maker of these gas stoves isn't making smartphones, so Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Seriously, Proview?

>So using your logic

Its not my logic, that's how the system works. The stoves were canned for the visual marks anyway - iPhone written that way is protected as is the Apple logo etc.

...though why Apple bothered is another thing altogether, most normal people would smile, not begrudge the poor gits responsible a few hundred dollars, and then maybe issue a C&D. The world of dire shit they and their dependents are now in, is way beyond anything proportionate to stupidly copying a few logos off the Internet.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, Proview?

Didn't IBM take action against a company that was producing a bottle of wine called "Big Blue" many years ago?

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Re: Re: Re: Seriously, Proview?

They wouldn't have a leg to stand on if they had sold the trademark to them with the agreement that they don't use it to compete with Apple. Apple didn't sell them the trademark, so it is a completely different situation. Having said that, Apple don't own the trademark to Apple in the records business. The Beetles own it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Seriously, Proview?

you really should clarify your point with the uk class data definition you reference

http://www.iplab.co.uk/trademark-classes/153/class-9/161/#class161

Class 42 : Services- research, design and technology generally

Class 9 : Computer software, hardware, computer games, CDs, DVDs and MP3 players, electronic publications (downloadable)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seriously, Proview?

"The Beetles"?

Jeebus. Has it come to this?

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Thumb Up

Creating a shell company to swindle people

Sounds like a crime to me.

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Re: Creating a shell company to swindle people

If it was a crime do you think the courts would have ignored it?

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Happy

Apple is not competing with Proview

For the good reason that Proview is not selling anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Name-squatters

Quote: "...Robinson then threatened legal action to cancel Proview’s trademarks, coercing the financially struggling firm into accepting the £35,000 he had previously offered..."

What a tragic tale! An individual in Essex strong-armed poor little Proview into handing over a name they allege is worth at least a billion dollars... pull the other one.

Proview held the name in the way any name-squatter does - hoping they can extract a juicy payment from a wealthy target that might conceivably value it They couldn't pair it the iPod name, and finally settled for the £35K (which was pretty good for a name that otherwise had no value to them, incidentally). And the "we were bullied" line is just hilarious - if they had any reasonable claim to the name, they didn't have to hand it over to anyone.

If Proview wants to claim it isn't name-squatting, where's the evidence they invested anything in the IPAD name in the last decade? How do they justify a loss or harm to the company? No, it's an obvious extortion attempt from beginning to end.

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Re: Name-squatters

Sorry Ralf but as much as I agree with the sentiment, you're talking mince my friend. Proview were selling a product called the IPAD at the time. Internet Personal Access Device I think was the acronym. Plus they allege that the company that sold that name had no right to do so.

I still think that Apple is right on this one and that Proview are just trying to make money out of Apple but there are certainly some dubious practices at work here. From both sides.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Name-squatters

@Hooksie: "Proview were selling a product called the IPAD at the time."

Can you provide a link that proves that assertion? Everything I've seen indicates they made in the vicinity of 15K iMac look-alikes called IPAD before the end of the millennium and abandoned it. Sales that low are a total disaster - the product was clearly a failure from the outset. What value do you think it has more than a decade later?

Moreover, why would they feel any pressure to sell the name if it was actively in use? They could have told the company in Essex to take a running jump. But 35K was more than the name was worth at the time, and they took the money. It's only worth something now because Apple has invested billions building a brand around it. This is a classic case name-squatting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Name-squatters

"@Hooksie: "Proview were selling a product called the IPAD at the time."

Can you provide a link that proves that assertion?"

thats simple to prove for any news outlet or end user as it in the public domain if you bother to actually look for proof one way or the other, no axe to grind ether way, and its even from the company they partnered with.

http://www.national.com/news/item/0,1735,520,00.html

"

National Semiconductor Hong Kong Ltd.

PROVIEW LAUNCHES NEW INTERNET PERSONAL ACCESS DEVICE POWERED BY NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR'S GEODE? SOLUTIONS

World's leading PC monitor company to step into information appliance market

August 16, 2000 - Proview International Holdings Limited (HKSE: 334), a leading computer monitor manufacturer, and National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE: NSM), the leading provider of silicon and total system solutions for information appliances, today launched iPAD, a simple and intuitive means of accessing the Internet without the cost and complexity often associated with personal computers.

iPAD, resulting from the co-development between Proview and National, is built around National's high-performance Geode? GX processor and a Proview 15-inch cathode ray tube (CRT) color monitor. iPAD, with a keyboard and a mouse, provides users with one-click access to email, online applications, chat, shopping and search engines.

p1

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Name- plunder

did you/readers forget apple history ? that apple were once in a dire financial state once upon a time, and so started an Official Macintosh clone program generated quick revenues for Apple during a time of financial crisis From early 1995 through mid-1997, it was possible to buy PowerPC-based clone computers running Mac OS, most notably from Power Computing then apple went back on the many legal licensing agreements after they recovered financially.

"Jobs ends the official program

Soon after Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he backed out of recently renegotiated licensing deals with OS licensees that Apple executives complained were still financially unfavorable.[12] Because the clone makers' licenses were valid only for Apple's System 7 operating system, Apple's release of Mac OS 8 left the clone manufacturers without the ability to ship a current Mac OS version and effectively ended the cloning program.[13] Apple bought Power Computing's Mac clone business for $100 million, ending the Clone era.[14] Only UMAX ever obtained a license to ship OS 8, which expired in July 1998."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Name-squatters

@AC: "thats simple to prove for any news outlet or end user as it in the public domain if you bother to actually look for proof one way or the other, no axe to grind ether way, and its even from the company they partnered with.

http://www.national.com/news/item/0,1735,520,00.html"

Did you bother to read my comment? I noted that Proview produced in the vicinity of 15K units before the end of the millennium (= before 2001), which reflects the article you linked to. But the name transfer took place in 2008, and the assertion is that IPAD was long dead by then. Do you have any proof that Proview was selling anything called IPAD at the time, i.e. *2008*, or had been for many years?

Look at it the other way around. If a company in Essex approach Apple today and tried to strong-arm them into selling rights to the iPad name, do you think Apple would feel any compulsion to comply? They'd be sent scurrying back to Essex empty-handed. If Proview was benefiting in any way from the name IPAD, it would have done the same.

And speaking of bias, it seems to me that the axe is in your hands. Haven't you noticed the absurdity of Proviews claims? In China, it claims the name belongs to them. In Europe, it claims the name was taken from them by deception. So did Proview keep the name or was it 'swindled' out of it? Only one of those statements can be true.

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G2
Facepalm

China trademarks =/= Hong Kong trademarks

Proview is not using the fraud and deceit defense in China because these are really two separate legal matters:

The international lawsuits are related to the INTERNATIONAL (actually 10-countries) usage of the mark that was sold to a buyer that was acting under false pretenses and thus it is the contract to the international mark that is contested and as such that contract might be found null and void because of willfull deceit on part of the buyer and Proview might end up actually owning the international IPAD trade mark again if the courts decide so.

The China lawsuit is another kettle of fish: the international right for the mark does not include the rights for Chinese mainland.

Harris & Moure on their blog, http://www.chinalawblog.com/ have repeatedly stressed the point that Hong Kong trademarks are not always (i.e. almost never) recognized in mainland China unless they are also REGISTERED in China.

This is due to the "One country, two systems" approach. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_country,_two_systems

See:

http://www.chinalawblog.com/2007/07/china_trademarks_do_you_feel_l.html

and

http://www.chinalawblog.com/2011/12/china_and_foreign_trademarks_think_puerto_rico.html

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G2

Re: China trademarks =/= Hong Kong trademarks

P.S. read that 2007 blog article and the linked blogspot article too...

Ferrari lost the right to the horse image trademark in China to a company that registered it properly in 1996.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: China trademarks =/= Hong Kong trademarks

and the main reason it is a "One country, two systems" today (a little history lesson is good) is because originally Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War 1839/42 the British had, as they wanted to cover their china tea and related costs with their Opium from their Indian poppy supplies they owned.

soon after that the american fungus arrived in Ireland on the way to delivering the English their tea etc from china in 1845 to create the Irish potato blight destroying the crops and kill most of the Irish that winter through starvation there were to many corpses to bury and so forcing the few survivors to emigrate to well you know where, and that forced the English to change their import laws for better open trade to import US corn etc and bring down the cost of living

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g e
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We need a new El Reg commenter icon

POPCORN!

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Joke

we [Europeans] all look the same to them

dixit a propos Hargreaves/Robinson.

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Anonymous Coward

is it just me?

If a company approached me for a trademark for a word that began with i or I and then had another word after it I would think, hmmm, who might that be... Especially since the tablet was widely speculated about at that time.

I worked for a company a good few years ago that wanted a domain name that someone had registered and they went through an intermediary, I thought that was standard practice.

Anyway, I don't like apple much at the moment but I do think this one is a case of tough shit to Proview.

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jai
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Re: is it just me?

I was just thinking that.

They claim they'd already had a run-in with Apple over the iPod name, so surely when someone comes along asking to buy the rights to a name that's only one letter difference, they should have guessed it was Apple behind it.

i'm stocking up on popcorn for tomorrow's court ruling. going to be interesting to see which way it goes and how everyone reacts afterwards.

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They made a bad trade when they were desperate for cash, and want the court to kiss it all better. Last time I checked, using shell companies to misdirect other businesses wasn't a crime. It's certainly manipulative and borders on dishonest, but I can't see that it's any less ethical than you or I using a pseudonym on the net to avoid potential libel.

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Your analogy suggests that using a pseudonym on the net makes libel remarks more ethical.

As a result I think that it is a stronger analogy than perhaps you intended.

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iTV

If you have a number named company trying to buy you the iTV name, you need to be one hell of an idiot to not think it may be Apple. Same goes for iPAD back then.

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Stop

What next?

Proview saying they've been fleeced by some some guy in a suit called Bond who works for a company called Universal Exports?

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This reminds me

of a legal suit between Novell and Sco - It was widely speculated that M$FT were supporting them at the time.

So Proview tried and fail before but are now trying again. I wonder who is bankrolling their legal team? Could it be Sams*ng?

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