US-China Battles





Proview Pissed with Apple

Usually it’s the western companies accusing their eastern counterparts of copying their stuff.  But with Shenzhen Proview Technology and Apple, Inc., it has been the other way around.  This might shed some light on why US companies simply want to avoid doing business in Asian countries.

Basically, Proview (the company in mega debt) claimed that it legally bought the rights to the iPad trademark back in 2009. The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court ruled against Apple.  One foreign relations expert, Adam Segal used this example to point to the problems of Americans doing business in China, saying “I think it’s an issue of how laws are interpreted and how they’re implemented and what you can expect from different level courts.” 

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Cutting Their Noses Off

But isn’t Shenzhen really cutting its nose off to spite its face?  When Proview decided that the iPads shouldn’t be sold in Shanghai anymore all it succeeded in doing was aggravating its citizens.  And ultimately that will boost the popularity of Apple even further which has to be annoying at best for Proview. 

Plus Proview has to know that its now arch-enemy Apple is not going to take this lying down.  Proview has now implied it will try and resolve the dispute out of court.  Why?  Well, Apple sent the company a letter accusing Proview of bad-mouthing it through the media which of course is illegal.  So what started as Proview trying to attack Apple, might end up biting it in the ass and it having to defend itself.

In addition, as Daniel Eran Dilger tweeted, “funny that Proview was deemed likely to get big money from Apple for its disputed IPAD trademark, given that it was an iMac ripoff from '98.” And he’s right.

Lessons Learned

What does this teach us?  Pick your battles.  Don’t go after someone double (or probably more like quadruple) the size of you.  And if you do have to, make sure you have all the facts before you start.  It’s pretty obvious that the amount of companies that have successfully taken to Apple to court and won can be counted on one hand or less.


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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