Sam Shead from ZDNet writes that the USPTO has granted Apple a trademark to its stores in order to cut down on copycats.
Mr. Shead states,
The approval was granted more than two years after the company first filed the application to trademark its stores in May 2010.
Apple has requested that no store be allowed to replicate various features, including “a clear glass storefront surrounded by a panelled facade” or an “oblong table with stools… set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall”.
Apple’s motivation for the trademark comes in part from a fake Apple store in China that made widespread news coverage in 2011 for selling Apple products under the familiar white Apple logo, in a building designed to look just like Apple’s many retail stores.
Of course, since the trademark is only filed with the United States Government, this filing cannot be exercised against persons in foreign countries misusing the trademark.
Apple has finally announced that a user in China was the winner of the Apple Inc. sponsored prize for downloading the 25 billionth iTunes App. The user, one Chunli Fu of Qungdao, China downloaded the free Disney app, “Where’s My Water” to push the download mark over the 25 billion mark. He will receive $10,000 USD in the iTunes App Store int he form of a gift card.
Currently, there are more than 550,000 apps in the iTunes App Store and now more than 170,000 of those apps are iPad native apps. According to Apple, they have paid out more than $4 Billion USD to the developers of those apps.
Proview, the China based bankrupt company which supposedly owns the iPad name is now suing Apple in California. The company is still embroiled in a battle in mainland China, but no decision has been made there. Proview is now accusing Apple of using deceptive practices in their purchase of the iPad name, thereby denying Proview fair value on the name. In China, Proview is denying the name was sold for mainland China operations.
Apple’s lawyers in China have submitted a letter to Proview to essentially tell them to quit making remarks to the media. The letter claims that the comments that Proview CEO Yang Rongshan is making in public run contrary to the actual ruling in the case and also are falsifications of the facts. The letter is stating that Apple “formally reserve all rights to take further legal action against any individuals and tentities fort any damages that may result from defamoatory statements and unlawful actions intended to wrongfully interfere with Apple’s business and business relationships.”
Obviously Proview can do great damage to Apple in China through this case, but if they lose, there could be serious repercussions for Yang and his people. This is especially true since there is evidence which was submitted by Apple yesterday, showing emails in the Proview legal staff’s on hand that the sale had gone through and was for mainland China.
You can view the entire letter in both Chinese and English on the DOCSTOC website at:
Source: All Things Digital
The trademark dispute in China between Proview, a bankrupt supposed owner of the iPad name and Apple, the known manufacturer of the iPad, is now widening to a point where Apple is being black mailed for 2 Billion USD by Proview. While Apple purchased the rights to the name several years ago, Proview is now arguing that that sale did not cover mainland China where the iPad is made.
Apple was initially being asked for 1.6 Billion in addition to the 55,000 USD it paid to the Hong Kong office of Proview when it purchased the name. The purchase of the name in 2009 should have ended any challenges to the Apple ownership of the iPad name. Hong Kong courts agreed with Apple on this accord. However, China, long known for its blatant copying of the worlds goods, now also seems to have a court system now where it is acceptable to use black mail and under handedness to take money from western companies. The chinese courts over ruled the Hong Kong courts and is saying Proview owns the name. It is sad that Proview is just the latest example of this type of underhandedness. The company is by all rights, bankrupt. The sold the name when they were trying to get rid of assets for cash. Now they are seeing dollar signs and thinking Apple is going to buy them out again. If this court case is allowed to proceed in addition to the seizure of iPads prior to a conclusion of the court case and appeals especially in local areas in China, then no company will ever be safe in the Chinese market.
In China, it also seems to be the norm to attempt to file the iPhone and iPad name for other products not related to anything in the technology field, with companies filing the claims saying that the names are not well known in China. This includes everything from clothing items to food product. This in essence a total scam of the system, with the Chinese courts and local governments in cohorts with the companies, all to garner money from the world’s most famous and most valuable brand. This is the type of activity western companies have long feared about doing business in China. While everything on the surface seems to be copacetic, scammers in the country will try anything to get money out of a system that they have no real part in or any real business in.
If the Chinese courts don’t wake up and realize their mistakes, correcting the illicit activity with the copyrights and trademarks in the country as well as respecting international trade deals, they could well find that Apple will no longer be manufacturing there. At this point, other countries such as Brazil and Malaysia hold a much more appetizing state where the cost of building goods, also is not nearly as costly or as ridiculous as China has become recently. Another thing that China needs to realize is that they are only an assembly plant and that a good majority of the actual technologies and items put into the iPad are are made in other countries, putting China in a very vulnerable position. The stand to lose a trillion dollar conglomerates business to greed and stupidity.
Sources: Washington Post, IBN Live, Wall Street Journal
Apple Inc (AAPL) Shares are up over $9 USD per share in this morning’s trading session. News out of China that the Proview requested iPad ban has been refused by Chinese Customs Authorities on account that such a ban would be difficult to enforce due to the popularity of the iPad among Chinese consumers is the likely driving factor in the stratospheric rise in share price with the shares reaching $519.41 USD Per Share or $9.95 USD per share above yesterdays close (10:00am EST).
Proview, the holder of the iPad name in China is attempting to get Chinese Customs to block all imports of iPads as well as Exports. If they are successful in their quest, they could prevent Apple from receiving their products globally. Due to the fact that Foxconn, the manufacturer of the iPad is based in mainland China, this could be disastrous for Apple.
While the iPad name ownership case is still ongoing in China, Apple originally bought the rights to the name from the Hong Kong based subsiduary of Proview, in turn suing Proview in China claiming to own the name. Apple’s claim to the name was rejected outright by the Shenzen Intermediate Peoples Court in November 2011. Proview won the case at that time and in recent days has stepped up enforcement of this within China and stores have been reporting seizure of iPads from their stores.
Proview is also claiming damages totalling some 1.6 Billion USD, however, that total amount has not been decided completely and could actually be more.
Reports are saying that that Apple has now landed the number three telecom company in China to distribute the iPhone. China Telecom (CHA) was the latest of the mainland China based carriers to announce that they will have a iPhone 4S for sale as soon as February.
On 13 January when apple Incorporated released the iPhone 4S in mainland China most areas went according to plan. However, the main Apple store in Beijing was dated by scalpers trying to scoop up all of the iPhone 4S stock. The scoffers began to battle with staff and swat teams were called in to control them.
The push to put the iPhone 4S into China in what could be Apple’s biggest market globally discontinuing and Apple is anxious to get all of the local mainland China carriers on board in order to have as much reach as possible. They are even planning to release a CDMA based version of the iPhone 4S specifically for the Chinese market.
Apple lost a decision last month in Shenzhen Province Court regarding the iPad naming rights in mainland China. The original filer of the name, Proview, apparently still owns the legal rights to the name iPad, in spite of their Taiwan subsidiary having sold the name to a British company, IP Applications. Apple purchased the name from IP Applications in 2010, however, according to Proview, they never transferred the name or the rights to the name.
Apple lost a judgement in the court and is now appealing the case. They are asking for the transfer of the name to be completed as per the agreement between the Taiwan Proview subsidiary and IP Applications and also are asking for Proview to pay their legal fees totaling some 4 Million yuan. This case has wider implications in China than any where else as most countries recognize Apple as being the owner of the name iPad even though Proview registered the name in 2000 in a number of Asian countries. In China, Proview is already suing a number of outlets and Apple in an attempt to prevent the name iPad from being used.
Sources: ComputerWorld, WorldTVPC
The Beijing Apple store has had a major debacle in its opening of sales of the new iPhone 4S there. The store was supposed to open at 7:00 am but as the time reached 7:15, the crowds of people who had amassed waiting for the sales to begin, began chanting and hurling eggs at the store. Swat teams were called in to control the crowd and the sale of the iPhone there halted.
In most other cities, tickets were given out for a maximum of two iPhones per person and the sales went smoothly.