Apple Finally Gets its iPad Trademark in China

According to China Trademark Office’s latest ” Announcement of Trademarks “, the iPad trademark, which used to owned by Shenzhen Proview were formally transferred to Apple on July 27, 2012. And by Chinese Trademark Law, Apple could exercise the exclusive right over the trademark from the day.

As we reported last week :

Grandall Law Firm, GH Law Firm, Hejun Vanguard Group and other units providing legal or agency service to Proview applied to Shenzhen Yantian People’s Court in written for freezing of iPad trademark in China on 23 July,2012, also they have submitted the guarantee of RMB 300 million.


Proview’s Lawyer Applied for Freezing iPad Trademark Transfer

By You Yunting

We have reported that the iPad trademark battle in China has come to its end, with Apple paid the reconciliation fee of $ 60 million to Shenzhen Proview. But the story seems to not end there, Grandall Law Firm, the attorney of Shenzhen Proview filed a lawsuit to local people’s court on 23rd July demanding the lawyer’s fee of $ 2.4 million.

And as said by the latest news of the case, Grandall Law Firm, GH Law Firm, Hejun Vanguard Group and other units providing legal or agency service to Proview applied to Shenzhen Yantian People’s Court in written for the freezing of iPad trademark in China, also they have submitted the guarantee of RMB 300 million.


Is It Worth for Apple to Pay $60M for iPad Trademark?

According to the media report, the Guangdong People’s High Court announced on the 2nd of July that Apple has concluded a mediation agreement with Proview in the iPad battle, which will be finally settled with the trademark transferred to Apple on its payment of $ 60 million. After the news, the settlement amount of $ 60 million offered by Apple has soon been the focus of the public, and in this essay, we would like to discuss has Apple gained a bargain in the settlement?

For Apple, the payment may be less than its value for the following reasons:


Apple Pays 60 million US Dollars for iPad Trademark in China

By You Yunting

On the morning of the 2nd of July, the Guangdong People’s High Court announced both Apple and Proview prefer toend the case through mediation in the iPad battle, and both parties have confirmed the final settlement with $ 60 million paid by Apple for the trademark’s ownership in mainland China and thereby signed the agreement of mediation.

By the agreement, Apple shall remit $ 60 million yuan to the appointed account by the court, and meanwhile, on the 28th of June Apple has applied for the enforcement of the above agreement to the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court, where the 1st instance of the trial is heard. After the application, the Shenzhen Court sent the State Administration of Commerce and Industry the judicial decision and the notice of enforcement assistance today, by which the iPad trademark shall registered under the name Apple.


iPad Trademark Battle: Court Seeks Conciliation while New Hearing Not Excluded

According to the report, the judge of Guangdong Higher People’s Court stated on 17th April that the court will make a comprehensive consideration on the newly filed iPad trademark dispute between Apple and Proview for the social and legal benefit, and make a reasonable arrangement on the issue. Guangdong Higher People’s Court is seeking the conciliation between the parties under their voluntariness.

Mr. Xu Chunjian, the deputy chief judge of Guangdong Higher People’s Curt, says the iPad trademark battle will produce a deep influence on the market share in China of iPad as well as the development of the product’s commercial model. Therefore, it demands the maximum realization of the parties’ interests with the fair and strict application of the law by the court. Meanwhile, the presiding judge of the third civil hearing court of Guangdong People’s Higher Court Mr. Qiu Qingyong also stated that a new hearing may be arranged when new facts appear to be investigated after the examination on the current evidences.


Latest News of iPad Battle: Shenzhen Court Refused Bankruptcy Application against Shenzhen Proview

According to the news from China Daily (note: the link is in Chinese), there’s new progress in the iPad battle between Apple and Proview, and just like our past judgement, for the value of iPad trademark is impossible to estimate, the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court recently adjudicated the refusal on Taiwan Fubon Insurance’ s application on the bankruptcy liquidation of Shenzhen Proview.

Taiwan Fubon Insurance applied the bankruptcy liquidation to the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court on Shenzhen Proview who failed to clear the debt due and being insolvency. After the investigation, the court takes Shenzhen Proview as the only legal owner of iPad trademark for the mark is still registered under the name of Shenzhen Proview. Currently, Shenzhen Proview’s intangible asset are remained un-estimated with its value not determined, and thus it could not decide whether Shenzhen Proview is trapped in insolvency and enable to pay its debt; therefore the court adjudicated the refusal of Taiwan Fubon Insurance.


Where Apple’s Confidence Comes from in iPad Trademark Dispute?

For the battle between Apple and Proview, we think the only way to guarantee the mutual benefit is the conciliation, in which Apple could continuously use the iPad trademark and Proview could gain the transfer fee thereby, otherwise it will leave nothing for the creditors of Proview while Apple still holds its leeway.(the image today is the showcase of a Apple retailer in Shanghai)

On the evening of 14th February, Apple pulled iPad from Amazon China and halted its stop. Also Apple stated that “We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China”. All these show that Apple determines to hold its hard line in the battle over the iPad name, and even may stop the sale of the device. Then why shall Apple be so hard? The reasons may be the follows:


iPad Trademark Dispute: Amazon China Stops Selling iPad on Demand of Apple

As reported by Sina Tech, Amazon China (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Suning (SZSE: 002024), one of the major home appliance retailers in China, withdrew Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)’s iPad and stop the sale of the device from 14th February night. By relative officers from Amazon’s statement, the withdrawal is on the notice of Apple and also it’s the adjustment on its sales strategy. Meanwhile, Apple has not made any comments on the issue for whether it has any connection with iPad trademark dispute; also Apple’s staffs refuse to reply too.(as shows in the picture above, only MOTO and SAMSUNG product are searched when typing in iPad on Amazon China)


Latest News: Proview Plans to Apply for iPad Import Prohibition in Custom

As reported by Sina tech (the link is in Chinese), Attorney Ma Xiaodong, the legal representative of Proview, stated on 13th February that Proview is preparing the documents for the complaint to the custom house for the import prohibition of Apple’s iPad.

To Ma’s introduction, the Industry & Commerce Administration of Shandong, Hebei, Hunan, Sichuan and Guangdong (all are the provinces of China) has engaged in the trademark dispute, with most documents for the government’s investigation are provided by Proview. He also disclosed that the temporary administrative measures taken by the local organs vary among the provinces, among which the administration of Shijiazhuang, Hubei province detained the device, while in most other regions, iPad is only demanded for stop sale.


Once Apple Lost iPad Trademark: Would There be A Name Change on iPad3 in China?

For the claimed iPad trademark infringement, as media reported, the Industry and Commerce Administration of Shijiazhuang City, Hubei Province of China, detained more than 40 iPads on the report of Proview, the registered owner of iPad trademark. For this issue, Mr. You Yunting was interviewed by Donews, a tech website in China, and the following is the details of the interview: (the image above is Proview’s Certificate of Trademark issued by Chinese government )

1. When the infringement of Apple is judged established, could anyone bought iPad choose to return the device to Apple?


Before 2nd Instance of iPad Trademark Dispute: iPad was Withdrew in Some Cities by Local Chinese Government

After losing the lawsuit in the trademark transfer dispute against Proview in the 1st instance, Apple will attend the hearing of the 2nd instance on 29th, Feburary, 2012. However, just before the hearing, on the complaint of Proview, the administration of Industry & Commerce has started the investigation on trademark dispute, and on 13th February, the administration in Shijiiazhuang City detained 41 iPad devices and ordered for stop iPad’s sales.(the link is in Chinese)

On the issue, Mr. You Yunting, the founder of our website was interviewed by medias, which details are as follows:


The Extension of the iPad Trademark Battle: Proview Charged iPad Distributor GOME in China

According to Guangzhou Daily, the widely concerned iPad trademark conflict is oiled by the battle between Proview and GOME (HKEx: 00493), the distributor of iPad. And the new dispute has been brought to the Shenzhen Futian People’s Court and heard on 30th, December, 2011.

Shenzhen Proview claims itself the legal trademark owner of iPad, and as investigated, GOME sold the tablet with iPad trademark in its stores with no license from GOME, therefore, the misconduct of GOME shall be the trademark infringement. Thereby, Proview demands GOME stop selling the tablet, destroy all the marks or package related to the infringement, cancel any propaganda concerning iPad and take all the expenses on the investigation, evidence collection and other reasonable costs.


According to China Court’s First Instance Judgement, Apple Loses the iPad Trademark

According to the latest news, Shenzhen Media People’s Court judged on the iPad trademark conflict between Apple Inc (the “Apple”) and Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. (the “Proview”), and Apple’s claim of Proview’s infringement against its trademark was rejected. That means the ownership of iPad trademark in China still belongs to Proview.

For this case, Bridge IP Law Commentary has expressed our opinions and analysis in the No “iPad” Chinese trademark right for Apple after payment in the transaction. And we anticipate that Apple may appeal to the higher court, while the case may end up in the consequence that Apple shall lose iPad trademark in mainland China shall the higher court maintained the judgment.


No “iPad” Chinese trademark right for Apple after payment in the transaction, and our analysis.

—-the Key points to the trademark transaction under the frame of China laws

Highlight:Apple gets involved in the litigation against a Chinese company for the ownership of iPad trademark, which Apple has claimed the property from purchase. However, such conflict could be averted if proper preparation has been done before the trademark transaction.

Recently, the trademark conflict over “iPad” initiated by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL, the “Apple”) against Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. (the “Proview”) was heard for the third time on Shenzhen Intermediate Court. In the trial, Apple affirmed it owns the global trademark right of “iPad”, which was stroke back by Proview that such right in mainland China is exclusively held by Proview and the claimed transaction of Apple for the acquisition of such right has no permission or authorization from it, furthermore, Apple was also accused of its malicious purchase of the registered “iPad” behind the IP Application Development Company worldwide.