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.