back to article iPads seized from shelves by Chinese officials

Officials have begun confiscating iPad devices from stores in China after a court ruled in December that Apple was guilty of infringing the trademark of Chinese monitor biz Proview. According to Hebei Youth Daily, officials from the Administrations of Industry and Commerce (AIC) raided a reseller in Shijiazhuang, clearing it …

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  1. amanfromearth

    Sauce for the goose

    is apparently is not sauce for the gander in China.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Karma ?

      I would say that this is just a silly spat, but given the vigor with which Apple went after the Ipood (Here), or claimed to own the word Pod (Here), or more recently the Driphone (Here)

      Well, what amanfromearth said!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        More a case of

        天下乌鸦一样黑

  2. LarsG

    YET

    The fakes are still on sale!

    The rule of law is not applicable here, I'm surprised Apple haven't got that yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Act5ually...

      ..the are following the law. the Ipads have lost a case. They are appealing but the fact is they lost the case.

      As they say, what goes around comes around.

      Granted, China is swamped with fakes.

      1. LarsG

        APPARENTLY

        BMW sued over a Chinese company making Fake X5's and lost (top gear if it can be believed) so the rule of law is not quite what it seems in China.

        But of course if you speak out...... You get locked up..... For a long time.

        It is unlikely to go Apples way.

        1. LarsG

          I'VE just realised....

          I'm being nice..... To Apple.

          1. mike 32
            Windows

            Do you feel dirty?

            I know I would...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You're a changed man, LarsG

            Is it due to the Anonymous Coward brokenness?

        2. dssf

          Chery, BMW, Chevy, VW?

          Check these out:

          http://www.carnewschina.com/page/7/

          http://www.motorindustry.org/2011/12/15/chery-qq-vs-chevy-spark-copy-theft-the-true-story/

          In the case of VW, I thought Chery made cars from unauthorized build parts but that instead of suing, VW showcased how good their quality is and that since Chery (or whomever) cloned it, it showed that VW had quality, and Chery was a quality company...

        3. Ammaross Danan
          Big Brother

          Cars and Fakes

          Car or no, fake iPads or no, Apple lost the case due to using a registered trademark "iPad" for selling its tablets. The fakes are still out there because they do not use "iPad" in the name, they just look the same. Just like that handbag that has a slight misspelling of a certain brand name....

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re:BMW

          The Chinese company wasn't selling fake X5's they were selling a car that looked almost identical, but it was cheaper....

          I would suspect BMW probably used the court case to improve sales, believe me, no one in China would buy the Chinese brand because it looks like the BMW, IF they can afford the BMW, so BMW loose no sales, so why complain unless they call it the same thing...

          1. DRendar
            Headmaster

            "so BMW loose no sales"

            Wow, their sales aren't loose eh? I guess they won't have to tighten them then!!

  3. LarsG

    Or maybe

    It's just a way to get an iPad without paying.

    Is that cynical?

    1. LarsG

      FINALLY FROM ME...

      On this subject...

      Does Apple know that China have a vast nuclear arsenal?

      1. Paul_Murphy

        Maybe.

        But I'm pretty sure that China knows that Apple has a LOT of cash.

        I wonder when Apple will be encouraged to by Proview (is it? whoever they are) for a certain figure well above what it's worth.

        ttfn

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          @Paul_Murphy

          I don't know if the situation has changed in recent years, but it believe it used to be the case that foreign investors are not allowed to own, or own the majority share in, businesses based in China.

      2. deshepherd

        But have you seen the design for Apple's new HQ?

        http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2011/06/07/applespaceship.png

        Just wait till the internal covers are retracted revealing the underground fortress surrounding the iDeathRay ... then China will start to obey!

  4. Svein Skogen

    Hopefully they will go further

    Hopefully they will start confiscating at the foxconn plant, products and parts-for-products for infringing fruit-ware. ;)

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @Svein

      Only those destined for the Chinese internal market. Anything sold in other countries would be subject to cases in each country in question.

      Of course, in China anything could happen, given that their legal system is very different. But I think that many companies would re-consider using China as a manufacturing base if the Chinese authorities were to start confiscating goods destined for sale outside of China.

      1. popper
        Alert

        £Only those destined for the Chinese internal market. Anything sold in other countries would be subject to cases in each country in question.£

        apparently it's not the case you presume if new reports are accurate, it appears Lance 3 prediction/suggestion may well happen now if cash isn't spent settling before trial ( is that an option in china's legal system ?)

        http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1308659

        "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. "

        see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/02/14/us-apple-ipad-idUKTRE81D0OE20120214

        Apple may face iPad export ban in China trademark dispute

        By Artemisia Ng and Melanie Lee

        HONG KONG/SHANGHAI | Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:45pm GMT

        "The Chinese firm Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd is petitioning Chinese customs to stop shipments of Apple's popular

        iPads in and out of China, though the customs have not responded to its request, lawyer Xie Xianghui told Asian Legal Business, a Thomson Reuters publication."

  5. Big_Ted
    Devil

    What I wonder is........

    If Apple loose the appeal does that mean that within Chinas border the word ipad can only be used by Proview ?

    How would that affect all those ipads being made there, would they have to leave the word ipad off them to be able to export ?

    Could be interesting if they loose the appeal....

    1. Richard 120
      Mushroom

      LOSE

      FFS the word is lose!

      Loose makes me think of a dog crapping all over the furniture.

      1. Oninoshiko
        Headmaster

        LET LOOSE THE APPEALS!

        I was thinking of them appealing 20 or 50 times!

        LET LOOSE THE APPEALS!

  6. Craigness

    Ipad is a stolen product. China should spend all its money destroying the iPad.

    Who else suspects the original IPad was created as a copy of the ipaq?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which was ripped off from......

      The Palm Pilot, which ripped off the tandy zoomer.......blah blah blah.

    2. Stuart Castle

      Or maybe the iPaq was a copy of the palm which was a copy of the Newton, invented by erm, Apple..

    3. Sceptic Tank
      Unhappy

      Destroying iPads

      Perish the thought! I hope nobody destroys any iPads because somebody probably died to make them.

  7. jai

    TopGear

    I just watched the previous week's TopGear where they went to China and were looking at all the car fakes. And how BMW had tried to sue over the fake X5 (or whatever it was) that looked identical to their model, and they lost the case because the Chinese courts ruled that there were no similarities at all.

    I'll admit, Apple can be a bit over zealous, but it seems crazy over there, you haven't got a chance of winning unless you're a Chinese company.

  8. g e

    Well they paid up for...

    iPhone (Fujitsu?) and iOS (Cisco), if I remembered those right.

    So they'd better get their wallet out for iPad and pony up to ProView, too. As they've infringed already I'd hope it ends up being $5 per device sold instead of a flat rate. Make an example of the Western Capitalist, etc, etc. Not like they're gonna move manufacture from Foxconn overnight.

    Perhaps they should have gone with a less stupid naming convention from the outset than i+some word from a dictionary.

    1. Sean Baggaley 1
      FAIL

      But Apple DID buy the iPad trademark from ProView!

      Or so they were led to believe by ProView's Taiwanese subsidiary at the time.

      ProView (China) is claiming that ProView (Taiwan) did NOT have the rights to sell the "iPad" trademark, despite ProView (Taiwan)'s claims to the contrary during the original sale. That would suggest ProView (Taiwan) sold IP rights when it wasn't the legitimate rights holder. Either way, ProView (China or Taiwan) is at fault here as, presumably, someone in the corporation's Chinese mothership was aware of their Taiwanese arm's activities.

      THAT is what this case is all about: ProView have been acting in bad faith. If Apple's allegations are correct, then ProView are guilty of "trademark trolling".

      If Apple does lose this case, it's going to make doing business in China more expensive as more arse-covering layers will be required when dealing with IP issues. (I.e. if US Corporation A tries to buy Chinese Corporation C's IP, a whole layer of legal middle-men in both nations will have to be hired to perform the necessary checks, all of whom will also require expensive liability insurance as Corporation A is damned well going to sue somebody if it turns out they've been sold a pup.)

      1. Laurent

        I think it might be because from the mainland viewpoint (and technically, from every other country's), there's no such thing as the ROC. There is only one China, the PRC, which happens to have a rebel province in Taiwan.

        So any legal decision In Taipei might have some difficulty to be applied in Beijing if they feel like ignoring it.

        Handling relations between mainland China and Taiwan must be a lot of fun now that they have so much economic interconnect.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly

      oh yeah :-D

      My personal fave is the $100 million and a free license for the I device program that went to Creative Labs over the menu system in ahem, hand held music players etc.

  9. TheManCalledStan
    WTF?

    I don't think so!

    PRC is going to invade Taiwan to "seize" at the Foxxconn plant?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Happy

      More interestingly on that one.

      From a Chinese legal perspective Taiwan is part of China, so continuing to sell in Taiwan could be seen to put Apple in contempt of court.......

      More popcorn please.

    2. Peter 48

      invade?

      If I understand the situation correctly China don't recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation so there would not be any invasion necessary, they would simply relocate some more troops to there.

      1. Laurent

        No country has recognized Taiwan as a sovereign nation, not even the US.

        1. Vincent Ballard
          FAIL

          Except...

          With the exception of all the countries that were in the UN before 1971. Oh, wait, that does include the US after all...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If you ignore

          The Vatican, El Salvador, Domincan Republic and about 20 other (small) nations.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            A few less now

            There have been a few bidding wars. I believe Liberia flip-flopped their recognition a few years back, and Dominica took over $1,000 per citizen when it recognised China: BBC link.

  10. Anonymous Coward 101
    Happy

    Puts recent Andrew O article into perspective...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/07/ipo_captures_govt/

    China is learning quickly that IP is sometimes good for stimulating worthwhile economic activity - but it's great for useless rent seeking. We can expect more of this rubbish in the future.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    "Shenzhen-based Proview, which registered the “IPAD” trademark way back in 2001."

    2001 was the year of the first ever iPod. I wonder which was registered first, Proview's iPad or Apple's iPod?

    Anyone know how to find out?

    1. Wang N Staines

      Apple invented everything first and registered everything first.

      1. g e

        Including Fire

        some text

    2. Peter 48

      Well a quick Google search shows a press release from AMD showing that Proview released a product called the iPAD back in August 2000, about a year before the ipod showed up. It looks to me like it was a monitor with a built in PC that took cues from the iMAC.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The iMac came out in 1998...

  12. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Corruption seems more likely...

    Surely a police state can organise a proper universal seizure of iPads, if that's what they wanted to do? So if they haven't, and what we've got is isolated cases of local authorities 'confiscating' iPads from shops, then corruption seems more likely.

    Local police chief notes wife's birthday is due. Thinks what would make his darling a happy bunny? Sadly considers his bank balance, in comparison to the cost of an iPad. Has bright idea... Seizes iPads. Result.

    As I understand it the Chinese central government doesn't have a lot of success in controlling local government - which is a source of a lot of the corruption, that's making the Party so unpopular.

    Stealing a few million from the defence budget, when the government is rolling in money, isn't obvious. Illegally bulldozing a bunch of people's houses (without compensation) to build private villas for the mayor and his cronies - that sort of thing gets attention.

    1. moiety

      Agreed.

      Valentine's day coming up. A stack of confiscated iPads would sort that out nicely.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Local Government Corruption...

      Unfortunately that is too true, they even execute corrupt officials in an attempt to control the corruption... The problem is local government in China is causing bad press for the whole Chinese government, meaning the rest of the world doesn't realize the people in charge are well educated, and have served their time before getting up the ladder into power positions, so they know what their doing (or should do) it may be a system that is hard to push through change, but it works..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    45 iPads confiscated

    Seems like someone found a way to save on the IT budget...

  14. squilookle

    The headline of the article gave me the image of a Chinese official sat with his feet on his desk playing Angry Birds on an iPad. And laughing.

    That's actually a surprisingly specific image I have in my head...

  15. Nigel R

    time to move production to...

    a more friendly country like North Korea?

    1. popper
      Big Brother

      "time to move production to... → #

      a more friendly country like North Korea?"

      Nigel R, i take it thats tongue in cheek but you do know there are already industrial parks on the boarders of North Korea don't you ?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaesong_Industrial_Region

      OC the west wont let any high tech goods to be made/assembled there as they don't want the NC's to get the expertise or the manufacturing kit to make it easy.

      and OC all the people here saying move assembly to "cheaper labour" country are forgetting that its by FAR the cheapest place right where it is, right now.... cha ching .

      so far more initial and ongoing costs involved even if their could find somewhere else in the world that has anything like the massive infrastructural of china with masses of "cheaper labour" to buy up.

  16. Jason Hindle

    Apple needs to learn not to play nice in China

    Of course, that would mean out-bribing their competitors there (which they certainly can do) but I believe this would infringe the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which doesn't have an exception for doing business in China (and really only serves to make US companies less competitive in many environments).

  17. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    At last, an i<product> (c)(TM) I am happy to use

    The "iGloat" (c)(TM)

    In other news crApple are suing Madagascar (c)(TM) requesting that all aye-aye's (c)(TM) (Daubentonia madagascariensis) are immediately removed from the jungle (c)(TM).

    Paris, iCandy (c)(TM)

    1. Ivan Headache

      If I knew what all that was about I might even upvote it.

      But I don't.

  18. Flashy Red
    FAIL

    Mmmm....

    Possibly time for Apple to think about creating those jobs in another country?

  19. howard bowen 1

    May I be around the 341st poster to say....

    Mwahahaha! How do you like them Apples beeeyatch!

    yours faithfully,

    Your bestest mates in South Korea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who?

      The South Koreans love the iPad:

      http://thenextweb.com/asia/2012/02/12/apple-beating-samsung-on-its-home-turf-as-the-ipad-passes-1-million-sales-in-korea/

      You mean just a few Samsung employees don't you?

  20. Chris Sake

    出售蘋果

    Initially, all this will do is to increase the flow of iPads, purchased in Hong Kong, across the border, to be sold at a healthy premium. Capitalism at its finest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And guess who'll be receiving the bribes to let them through...

  21. b166er

    The following is very childish

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  22. TheManCalledStan
    Meh

    Hmm....

    So based on the premises provided of China not recognising Taiwan as a self-determining sovereign nation which can't be invaded. The Falkland islands which Argentina has never recognised as being self-determining and under the sovereignty of the UK, can simply "not-invaded" by some relocating troops from the Argentine Mainland?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Bit more complicated than that

      When the Chinese government fled to Taiwan, after being booted out by the communists in 1947-48, they didn't accept that they were no longer the government of China. They were just suffering a temporary inconvenience, and would be back in charge of the whole country forthwith.

      Meanwhile the Communists felt they now ruled the whole of China, and quietly ignored the fact that they didn't control this big island.

      At the UN, Taiwan (as the Republic of China) was on the Security Council with veto, as one of the victorious powers of WWII. And the PRC didn't have representation, or recognition.

      In the 70s that got reversed. Nixon went to China, they were brought into the international system, they got the seat in the UN, and the diplomatic recognition.

      We now have the weird situation that the US is pledged to defend a country that I don't believe even they recognise diplomatically. Taiwan pays small countries to officially recognise it, rather than China, I'm not sure even they see themselves as a separate legal country. I'm no international lawyer, so I find this all a bit confuddling. But when a candidate for the Taiwanese Presidency announced that he'd consider a referendum on independence - China threatened invasion if he did. It caused lots of tension and sabre rattling. But what I take from that is that the current legal status is that they both claim to be the real China, it's just neither government quite controls the whole territory.

      This is the kind of weird situation that makes it advisable to employ professional diplomats, lest your head explode, or you start a war by mistake...

  23. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Meh

    What are the Mandarin characters.....

    For "payback is a bitch!".

    Maybe Apple really does have valid use of the brand "iPad" from their agreement with Proview Taiwan, but if this case is ultimately decided against them, I for one will not be overly sad to see the litigious get litigated in return.

  24. scarshapedstar
    Pirate

    Bow before the Emperor

    I hate Apple as much as any other Android fanboi, but it's hard to view this as anything other than taking the gwailo down a peg just as a reminder that they're China and they can do whatever they want.

    1. Chimp

      Possibly...

      ... a little payback for the 'special treatment' Chinese companies get in the US.,

      Franky, I don't see any real issues here. A valid trademark has apparently been used without permission. Bit like those rounded corners.

      Not saying the PRC has a perfect legal system... Detention without trial, torture, abuse and murder happen from time to time. Reminds me of British jurisprudence, really.

  25. Nameless Faceless Computer User
    WTF?

    Trademark infringement? China? oh, against Apple? Sorry, cannot wrap brain around this concept.

    1. popper

      apple want to sell counterfeit iPAD into Chinese markets

      "cannot wrap brain around this concept."

      what's hard about it ?, it's simple... someone in china Owns the legal ipad trademark there , and they make and sell products under that ipad name.....

      now apple US want to sell their "counterfeit iPAD brand" (because as of right now that is exactly what it is) in to the same massively growing Chinese markets opening up now after failing to do do proper buyer be ware diligence in a sellers market.

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