John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Proview to Apple: You Owe Us $2 Billion

Proview's iPad, which bears an uncanny resemblance to another famous Apple product.

Proview, the foundering Chinese company battling with Apple over the iPad trademark, originally wanted millions of dollars for the rights to the mark in China. Now it wants billions.

At a press conference in Beijing on Friday, Li Su, chairman of Hejun Vanguard Group, a consulting company representing Proview’s creditors, said the company is gearing up to sue Apple in the U.S. to collect what it feels it’s owed. “Right now we are selecting from three American law firms to sue Apple in the United States for $2 billion in compensation,” he said.

As for allegations that Proview is breaching its iPad trademark deal to squeeze Apple for more money, Proview CEO Yang Rongshan says that’s not the case at all. “We own the iPad trademark in China,” Yang said. “If you were in my position … you would try to protect your rights.”

Apple, however, argues that it’s not Proview’s rights that need to be protected. Apple insists that it acquired the iPad mark fair and square from Proview several years ago, and that Proview refuses to honor their agreement. As documents first published by AllThingsD show, Proview in December of 2009 agreed to transfer to Apple all rights to the iPad trademark in a number of countries, including China. (Ironically, an email from a Proview executive to the Apple agent negotiating the trademark transfer concludes, “As you know my company is an international company and always keep[s] its promise.”)

Apple has sued Proview once, in the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court, arguing that the iPad trademark in China should be transferred to it per the original agreement, but the court dismissed that lawsuit, “due to the lack of facts and legal proof.” Apple subsequently appealed that ruling to the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong province, and will argue its case once again in a Feb. 29 hearing.

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