Proview Thinks Apple iPad Settlement Is ‘Likely’

| News

New comments from Proview Technology show that the company thinks it is “likely” to settle with Apple out of court in the iPad trademark feud between the two firms. While Apple has been vigorously fighting Proview’s claims in China, a Proview attorney told the AP that the company always expected to settle with Apple.

Proview vs. Apple

The case involves the mainland China rights to the name “IPAD,” a trademark Proview registered in the year 2000. Apple bought the rights from Proview in 2009, using a third party company set up for the transaction, but Proview then claimed that deal didn’t include the rights to mainland China.

That began a lawsuit that Apple lost. The company appealed the loss, however, arguing that documents and other information had been hidden from the lower court. The Guangdong High Court in southern China accepted the appeal, where it’s been since late February.

Earlier in April, the two companies reportedly entered negotiations, but the new comments suggest that Proview, at least, thinks a settlement is likely.

“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 Dongxiao told the AP.

He added, “Actually Proview always expected to settle out of court from the beginning. I don’t know if Apple has changed its attitude, but I believe that the key point now is the price.”

Mr. Ma’s last point, that the key point now is price, is at the heart of the issue. Proview was paid US$55,000 for the iPad rights in the original deal, but the company didn’t know it was dealing with Apple, a company that had more than $40 billion in the bank in 2009 when the deal was being worked out.

Proview was once a high flying electronics company in China, a firm that was built on LCD displays. When a decision to expand operations ran into the unforgiving reality of the 2008 economic downturn, Proview collapsed and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Now the company owes creditors throughout Asia and Apple believes Proview is merely being opportunistic. In a statement, Apple told the AP that, “[Proview] still owe[s] a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a trademark we already paid for.”

Whether or not that indicates that Apple is now willing to settle remains to be seen.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

8 Comments Leave Your Own

Garion

Seriously, how hard can it be to just read the damn contract between Proview and Apple and see if mainland China is mentioned as excluded from the iPad trademark agreement?

gnasher729

Seriously, how hard can it be to just read the damn contract between Proview and Apple and see if mainland China is mentioned as excluded from the iPad trademark agreement?

That’s not what it is about. There are supposedly two independent branches of Proview, which happen to be run by the same people but are independent, and one of the branches claims that it owned the trademark, and that the other branch (run by the same people) had no right to sell the trademarks, and that the first branch (run by the same people) had no idea that someone was trying to sell those trademarks.

That’s the little bit that they didn’t mention in the first court case: That it was actually the same people, acting for different branches of the same company. That and the fact that the first branch told Apple that they needed to buy the rights from the second branch, and then later turned around and claimed that the second branch had no rights to make the sale.

In the end, a settlement seems likely to me as well, along the lines of “Apple gets the trademarks, and nobody at Proview goes to jail”.

Lee Dronick

In the end, a settlement seems likely to me as well, along the lines of ?Apple gets the trademarks, and nobody at Proview goes to jail?.

A settlement probably worked out between Tim Cook and Chinese government officials during his recent trip to China. Proview gets some face saving cash.

geoduck

My first reaction was that somebody at Proview needs to learn to STFU or they’ll spoil the deal.

My next thought was maybe the deal is going south and Proview is laying the groundwork for trying to blame Apple for it or at least try to pressure them to sign.

The best idea though is

?Apple gets the trademarks, and nobody at Proview goes to jail?.

That’s likely not far from the minds of Proview management.

Lee Dronick

I was quoting Gnasher729, but I was implying the same thing, Tim pressured officials to pressure Proview. Apple pays Proview chump change so that they get to save face and Apple gets to use the name iPad, it is a win-win situation. Now of course the discussions may have only been between Apple and Proview.

ibuck

I enjoyed gnasher’s comment:

Apple gets the trademarks, and nobody at Proview goes to jail.

But I was surprised the lower Chinese court found for ProView. It’s probably a mistake to think Chinese courts weigh evidence the way a US court would. They may be more protective of Chinese companies. So it’ll be no surprise if Mr. Dronick is more correct:

Proview gets some face saving cash.

and Apple saves more legal fees and gains in PR by settling/giving a bit more cash. Although it may be a Proview ploy, as geoduck suggests. I’m watching with interest.

geoduck

Interesting article AP is saying that Chinese government officials are siding with Proview.

Lee Dronick

The AP article is probably correct that under Chinese law Proview does own the iPad name in that country. However, I would think them selling the name to Apple is in their best interest. They couldn’t export a product named iPad and the Chinese consumer would know that it is a knockoff.

Log-in to comment