back to article Now Proview seeks ban on ALL iPads coming out of China

Chinese monitor biz Proview, which says it owns the iPad trademark, now hopes to block the import and export of Apple's trendy tablets in the country. Proview International Holdings has already managed to get the expensive fondleslabs pulled out of some shops in China, following a ruling in the Asian nation's courts that found …

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  1. Mondo the Magnificent
    Devil

    This could be...

    ..the perfect excuse for Apple to move their manufacturing elsewhere.. perhaps to a more 'ethical' plant somewhere in the West?

    1. Ru

      Unlikely.

      The loss of profits that would result by manufacturing the device elsewhere would far exceed the costs of any settlement with Proview.

      More importantly, there's no guarantee that manufacturing expertise exists outside of China anymore, especially not in anywhere else which might offer cheap manufacturing.

      1. Is it me?

        Hmmm

        This might be why Apple are talking to their Air suppliers in Taiwan about iPad 3. Assuming they don't manufacture everything in China.

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

        It also depends on how much Proview want.

        1. Dazed and Confused

          All Proiew want

          is $38M, so about a quarter of an Apple lawyers weekly fees.

          personally I'd by quite happy to be given $38M but its peanuts for them, they are fighting this out of principle not for any real financial reason.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            Re: All Proview want

            No, the $38 million is just the fine, Proview actually want $1.6 BILLION.

            1. TeeCee Gold badge
              Coat

              Presumably Proview had their little finger in the corner of their mouth when they said that in block capitals?

      2. ratfox Silver badge
        Trollface

        Very easy

        Foxconn plant — 02:00am

        ATTENTION TO ALL WORKERS! WAKE UP, AND MAKE YOUR LUGGAGE. WE ARE MOVING THE PLANT TO VIETNAM.

    2. Sean Baggaley 1
      FAIL

      Can't be done.

      There are no factories on anywhere near the same scale as Chinese plants. Take a good look at the sheer scale of some of Foxconn and Pegatron's plants and you'll see the problem: they're basically city-sized factories. Just one Foxconn plant has more people working in it than currently live in Guildford.

      The only example of manufacturing on a similar scale is Ford, who have a mega-factory that takes in raw materials (steel, rubber, etc.) and spits out complete cars: you'd need to create a brand new supply and logistics chain on a similar scale to that.

      In the US, where human labour is entire orders of magnitude more expensive, robots are taking over, but you pay the price in flexibility and capital costs: those robots might not require a salary, but they do require initial purchase (think six figures) plus ongoing servicing and maintenance. It's also harder to repurpose a sandblasting robot cell to perform, say, soldering instead. That's why China's manufacturing conglomerates are so successful.

      Foxconn can simply repurpose last year's production line to produce wannabe "me-too" products from other clients. A US factory's production lines, filled with robots instead of humans, will be much harder to repurpose: A robot designed for, say, sandblasting an aluminium casing isn't going to be much use at soldering.

      Apple would effectively need to fund the construction, fit-out and tooling of a brand new mega-factory and supply chain, from scratch. If you think Apple would then be dumb enough to hire *people* to do work that a robot can do, you've another think coming. So no, there wouldn't be much benefit to the US unemployment figures either way.

      Apple, like Dell, Asus, HP and their ilk, chose China because it offers flexibility and massive economies of scale. Nobody else can crank out products in the quantities demanded by the West, in the timescales demanded by the West, for the prices demanded by the West.

      1. popper

        agreed, although there are some jobs that cant be done by robot OC for that final touch, so there is potential for a few hundred "working poor" minimum wage american jobs to be made by the 3rd party vulture contract agencies in that market...

      2. Aitor 1

        I disagree

        Brands went to Taiwan and then China because labour was less expensive and "green laws" were not even heard of.

        THEN they started to be massive.

        I do agree with you in that today it would be difficult to make them in the US or Europe.. but only because we have dismantled our factories and we decided not to build massive ones.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just need to add the name outside China

      If the device as exported from China doesn't have the disputed name printed on it then it can't really be seized as a trademark violation, can it?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Mondo...

      Bit naive if you think any other electronics manufacturing plant in China is much different - Apple is nothing special here nor is Foxconn only making stuff for Apple.

      1. popper

        its bit naive of an AC to ignore the fact 99% of Apple's profits comes from selling devices made by slaves/super low income working poor in China Often having to stand up 14 hours straight.

        it a bit naive of an AC to ignore the fact that apples partners Foxconn custom built whole mega factories at no initial outlay from apple to get the apple contract to assemble these phones at $10 all in end to end...

        and so on, of all the others you can mention ONLY apple make 99% of their mega profits on two products make at the same custom built whole mega factories and ship all that $500 a phone profit outside of china, whereas much of the own brand Android kit profit make and sold in china stays there, and good for them.

        1. AdamChew

          Big talk

          Try going for a few days without food and you will be glad for any employment that comes a long.

          Standing up for 14 hours, you are mentally challenged to believed this.

          The longer of this piece is an ihater and I don't blame it for the crap it had written.

          1. popper

            Re: Big talk

            LOL adam, seriously ,is that the best you can do, it's not talk, its called real life experience ,get out of your office and try it sometime

            you just provided one of the better reasons the working poor all over the world will actually travel hundred's of miles just to get a low paid job, as for standing up for up to 14 hours and al the other points are taken from the facts as known to date in reports if you look,.

            OC it appears You have never had that kind of work where you had to stand at a work station and keep up with the machinery (or get a reprimand for falling behind) for hours until change over and OC that change over meant more standing higher up the line doing more repetitive standing work.

            many working poor even in the west have had such job's as that work involves a lot of turn over, i did such work as the Trades Union's were abolished back in the day, so worker rights means a lot to me and many others not big talk , real life, try it sometime on a 10 hour shift and not just for a crap 6 weeks of your university break, what's an "ihater" and why would he video and advocate lots of ARM products for years already long before anyone else in the media LOL

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could be...

      HAHAHAHAHAHA W O W!

      Where 'in the West' would be more ethical?

      Fool yourself, not foolin me!

  2. jai

    how big are Proview?

    Because, the loss of business to Foxconn and Pegatron etc etc could be more damaging to the Chinese economy than a small trademark license?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How big is Proview"

      Proview is a bankrupt company in the hands of banks, who are just trying to extract all possible remaining value out of it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just change the name - not that big of a deal.

    Is 'Fondleslab' already trademarked?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Stike Vomit

      "Is 'Fondleslab' already trademarked?"

      Yes, I understand that the company "Fond Les Labs" (known for their well-regarded research into girl-centric relationships) has taken out an injunction.

      1. jai

        research into girl-centric relationships

        that's a relief, I thought you were going to say it was company set up to breed happy lesbian Labrador dogs....

    2. Richard 120
      Facepalm

      They've kind of buggered themselves up there too

      It's not like Apple can actually go for anything similar because of the precendent they themselves have set in their litigiousness, iPood, Driphone & Pad to name but three.

      1. Nanki Poo
        Joke

        @Richard 120

        "They've kind of buggered themselves up there too"

        What, the lesbians or the labradors...?

    3. dssf

      Well, iSlab is already taken, in multiple ways..

      So, no iSlab...

      http://www.google.com/search?q=islab&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

  4. Usually Right or Wrong
    Happy

    Not realy

    "an annoying little lawsuit into a major problem for Cupertino" it is just that the price went up.

    If Apple want to play games, then the purchase in in Taiwan was a purchase in China, that's the official line, so are Proview denying that their Taiwan office is just another branch in China.

    Some potential fun in this one, for us observing from the sidelines anyway.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Banning iPad exports?

    Fake meds: fine

    Fake milk powder: no problem

    Fake watches, DVDs, electronics, capacitors, chips, etc: all good

    Original iPad: nope sorry can't export that I'm afraid.

    Anyone really believes this will happen?

    I suspect Proview has decidedly flown too close to the sun with this one...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Fake milk powder: no problem

      After trial and appeals etc the people (including company executives) responsible for this one, were shot and broken up for compulsory organ harvesting......[not joking].

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And still not enough...

        "Melamine tainted milk re-emerges in northwest China plant"

        http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-07/09/c_13392414.htm

      2. Is it me?

        Got to love the Chinese penal system.

        If you're gonna have a death penalty, you may as well make it a useful one. I'm surprised they don't do it this way in Texas, to recover the costs of execution and benefit the tax payer.

        Anyone remember a certain horror film about transplanting the body parts of a murderer.

        Just for the record, I don't support the death penalty, it's just as bad as, if not worse than murder itself.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          SciFi got there first

          Larry Niven based the whole of one of his literary universes around a society who 'harvest' body parts from convicted felons. His conclusion was that eventually people would end up being broken up for offences as serious as jay-walking and tax evasion.

          Look up "Flatlander" or "Gil the Arm" if you are interested in reading the stories.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Tax evasion (fraud and bribery too) can carry the death penalty in China, and other sentences are more severe especially for officials.....much of our last parliament would be doing hard-labour for life, with a few of their major funders almost certainly taking the long walk.

            1. Neil Greatorex
              Coat

              AC@14:14

              "carry the death penalty in China, and other sentences are more severe"

              I wonder what you would consider "more severe"?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                I wonder what you would consider "more severe"?

                I remember one case of a woman sentenced to 20 years hard labour and then death. Which is more severe than just the usual Chinese "kill them out the back of the court" sentence.

                Not big on appeals, the Chinese government. Or freedom. Or basically anything other than fascism dressed up as communism.

                Still, mustn't grumble.

                1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                  Re: more severe

                  History has quite a number of regimes where a conviction resulted in some gruesome fate befalling family and friends (followed by your own demise, natch). I rather suspect that several still exist, though these days it tends not to be written explicitly in the statute books. It's just "understood".

          2. FIA

            "Larry Niven based the whole of one of his literary universes around a society who 'harvest' body parts from convicted felons. His conclusion was that eventually people would end up being broken up for offences as serious as jay-walking and tax evasion.."

            Bloody hell. That's not good.

            Glad I don't live in a country where prison labour can essentially be used as cheap slave labour, as I could see a situation where you could end up with a disproportionate amount of your population incarcerated for increasingly minor misdemeanour's..

            Or in fact one that would jail people, without trial, for indeterminate lengths of time because they simply didn't like them.

    2. popper

      the so called "Original iPad" as you put it , are in fact real life "counterfeit ipad's" if apple want to sell into the massive Chinese markets as we already know they do under that name without owning the proper legal trademark or licensed from the real "Proview Shenzhen" owner, as always in a sellers market "buyer beware".

      BTW there are plenty of London bridges for sale if apple want to purchase one from the many vendors claiming to own them going cheap with all the extra cash they are saving forcing Pegatron to take sides building that ASUS Zenbook and other profitable no apple kit.

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

      Apple orders PC builder to 'choose sides' in laptop battle?

  6. Tony Paulazzo
    Happy

    I wonder, is Proview friends with Google? LOL!!!

    If that means no iPad3 guess I'll have to go for the Transformer Prime (kind'a leaning that way anyway, but can't find one in stock anywhere) - and I'd really like to see what the iPad3 offers, I mean, for me, all that's missing is a working SD slot.

    Happy ipad1 owner here, but soz Apple, you created this monster all by yourselves.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      How so? it was Apple who kept getting sued initially by patent trolls. This was back when they were still mainly making iPods. All the claims against the clickwheel and other elements of the device.

      So obviously once bitten they are going to bite back.

      1. Captain Underpants
        Meh

        @Giles Jones

        I suspect there's a strong case to be made for the theory that all parties involved have, to some extent, been dicks in terms of patent trolling.

        Having been on the receiving end of patent-troll bellendery doesn't excuse Apple from initiating more patent-troll bellendery of their own (though no doubt they'd argue that their particular brand of patent-troll bellendery was intuitive and a new paradigm in bellendery design and manufacturing).

        1. Richard 120
          Coffee/keyboard

          bellendery

          *snigger*

        2. Darryl
          Happy

          @Captain Underpants

          One wonders if their new paradigm in bellendery could possibly be patentable...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "One wonders if their new paradigm in bellendery could possibly be patentable..."

            not now that Captain Underpants has prior art or at least the IP on it automatically :)

      2. Fr. Ted Crilly
        Happy

        Titter

        'chuckle' creative... snort! menu structure, gurn gurn $100 million Lulz

      3. Dazed and Confused

        Apple were litigious years before the iPod

        They went through a phase of suing any a company anywhere in the world who used the word apple anywhere in their name, even companies who'd been trading since before Mr Jobs was born. They've been highly litigious since before the days of the Lisa.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "that means no iPad3 guess I'll have to go for the Transformer Prime (kind'a leaning that way anyway, but can't find one in stock)"

      The words "can't find one in stock" say it all!

      It's nice to see that people aren't just sucked in by Apple sheen and gloss, and they realise that far superior products are available.

      "for me, all that's missing is a working SD slot" and for me, a product that doesn't carry a social stigma being seen carrying one!

      Like it or not Applites, this is the truth that can't be avoided.

  7. Giles Jones Gold badge

    This is the sort of excessive nonsense that gets CEOs angry and then causes all manner of further court cases.

    The sooner people stop this nonsense the better.

    Why would they seek to ban the iPad elsewhere when a trademark has to be registered in each individual country surely?

    1. Tim Bates

      They aren't asking to have it banned outside of China. They simply want imports and exports of it to be stopped....

      I suspect Apple would have asked the same thing of the Galaxy Tab if they'd managed to get it banned in it's country of manufacture.

  8. Syren Baran
    Devil

    Oh, now this is getting interesting

    Time for popcorn i guess.

    Fruity, totalitarian dictatorship vs communist regime. Be carefull China, Apple might sue away the Great Wall, they have prior art with walled garden systems after all.

    1. dssf

      Prior Art?

      Only if Jobs reincarnates, then speak as Jobs and a few prior emperors. But, I'm not sure about WHICH emperor he'd have to mimic...

      1. Nanki Poo
        Trollface

        @dssf

        Easter's coming . . .

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this goes through....

    I think Apple and Proview will agree to some licensing agreement soon.

    But let's assume Proview is successful in banning exports of the iPad from China, at least for a short period. Wouldn't this be then the precedent for other manufacturers to sue for similar measures , e.g. this or that functionality was invented by EmpireChina Limited first, therefore exports of USAproduct are halted pending the decision of the courts.

    Moving to another emerging economy is of no use, because EmpireIndia Private Limited may claim this intellectual property on that product is theirs in India and therefore cannot be exported - pending decision of the courts.

    Avoiding these litigations is technically impossible, as they are governed by the WTO, and especially Western countries are very vocal on enforcing intellectual property rights - so practice what you preach.

    I made up the countries and the names, no offence - you may insert to any country on the planet.

    This may not even be limited to electronic gadgets, how about car components, appliances, software?

    Interesting times...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could make a docufilm about it. Is the name "The Empire Strikes Back" already taken?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Wouldn't be a good title anyway. Imperial China was a long time ago and far, far away.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed, this is not the siren song China's industry PR wants out there.

      Proview - or the banks behind them, as the company is in the process of being stripped of its assets as we speak - will be getting a call from higher up soon.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or move their operation to the US?

      Since the US apparently has a "Get Out of Complying With WTO Rules More or Less Free" card.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony?

    Apple being beaten at their own game?

    No I don't see the Irony.

  11. David Lawrence
    Devil

    Interesting battle looming....

    ...between the world's worst patent trolls and the world's worst abusers of patents! All you to do is detemine which is which!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what goes around comes around

      "abusers of patents"

      The Long View....

      well the west cant really complain, after all when the Chinese wall went up and they closed their borders etc back in the day , the west still managed to get inside, steal and copy their inventions secrets , tweak them here and there and put out counterfeit and own brand products for the masses in the west, when that supply ran out the US took to doing the same to the EU as it is now and so on.

      so its just the Chinese and other lower income counties with massive populations turn to do it, with a twist that the west are handing them the ALL goods on a plate as Chinese's cheaper, so why make the stuff yourself when you can get those ancient civilisations to learn your tricks and build the world you want to live in

    2. Jim Carter

      There's only one way to find out...

      FIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese monitor biz Proview, which claims to own the iPad trademark,

    Claims?

    Nope, PROVEN in a court of law to own it.

    If that is a valid ruling may be questionable, but in the eyes of the (Chinese) law, it is a vaild claim to ownership.

    1. g e

      In that case

      It's wallet time....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How I wish Proview turns out to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung!

    1. popper

      "How I wish Proview turns out to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung!"

      it doesnt matter if they are or not , they as a Chinese inc are allowed to buy up all of Proview if they wish, it all depends if their trademark is worth the expense...

      a "what if" scenario if they did , can Samsung make a nice profit from licencing the ipad trademark for all single core A8 ARM devices, some novelty ipad stickers for your Intel inside mac like kits face plate and the collapsibility's are endless if they or anyone had a mind to teach the patent trolls an expensive yet profitable lesson.

      the Chinese Govt. don't really care as long s it help them grow and prosper , i forget the Chinese leaders exact words when he choose to take this Chinese profit road but it was essentially anything to help them grow and prosper in the future

  14. Bombjack
    Black Helicopters

    Chinese courts...

    ...are sock puppets for the Chinese government. Anyone got any insights into other current negotiations between Apple and the Chinese for which this is the proportionate level of extortion?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go Proview!

    Really hope it does happen. Couldn't happen to a more deserving company.

    1. hexx
      Facepalm

      yep, customers would definitely benefit - go troll somewhere else (engadget is a good one)

      1. ItsNotMe

        No...@hexx

        ...it's merely someone else doing to Apple, what Apple has been doing to others...for YEARS.

        Payback, afterall, is a bitch.

    2. Flashy Red
      Thumb Up

      Go Apple!

      for no other reason than to annoy the fuck out out you :)

  16. Adam T

    Another day in the life

    Like Apple gives a shit anyway. Just another candle in the wind. China's hardly going to stop their biggest single client; that would be just dumb, and whatever you think of China's ministries, they sure ain't dumb.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Just change the name - not that big of a deal. #

    IMax

    ... no .. hangon

  18. Random Handle

    iKerChing?

  19. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Successfull trolling...

    ...will be rewarded with a lot of moola...

    Interesting times for Apple.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't they open production in Brazil?

    http://applenewz.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ipad-2-back-assembled-in-brazil.jpeg

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The wheel turns...

    Jobs did not seem to learn (and instill in his company) one of the most fundamental concepts of Eastern philosophies:

    Karma.

    Because It is a B*TCH and it WILL come back to bite you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Karma...

      Jobs did seem to have some bad juju come his way recently...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot calling the kettle black

    China complaining about copyright infringement. Give me a break...

  23. rav

    The solution is simple

    Apple should just buy ProView.

    1. popper
      Mushroom

      Re: The solution is simple

      not as simple as you think, apple cant just buy ProView as their not Chinese and foreigners cant own Chinese companies outright.

      put simply, the Chinese doesnt want to be renting others external countries owned manufacturing , they want you foreigner's to rent off them and their growing property assets, however Samsung or any other Chinese firm could own ProView without a problem assets if their trademarks are worth it to Samsung etc longer term.

  24. toadwarrior

    apple haters make no sense

    There is nothing apple does that the other companies don't do as well and at least in some apple is just protecting their work unlike microsoft who is just out to profit off of android.

    That doesn't mean everything apple does is good or acceptable but the hate specifically for them is a unnecessary. It strikes me that a lot of it comes from people too "hip" to use popular products and therefore must hate on the company making them.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go proview!

    Since Apple is keen to compete with help from the courts (think rounded rectangle thing), I welcome the thought of its supply chain being broken at the base.

    Not that will happen, of course. Some settlement or dismissal will probably be the outcome of the charade.

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