Apple is currently being sued by Chinese firm Proview, as they claim Apple doesn’t have the basis to own the iPad trademark in China. Over at Fortune, Philip Elmer-Dewitt gives us the breakdown of how Apple acquired the iPad trademark 35 days before Steve Jobs debuted the iconic tablet, as noted in a press release by Proview:
- Apple hired a British firm called Farncombe International and its managing director, Graham Robinson, to be its secret agent.
- Robinson created a British shell company called IP Application Development Limited (“IPAD Ltd.”).
- Using the alias Jonathan Hargreaves, Robinson opened talks in Taiwan with Proview, concealing the fact that he was negotiating on Apple’s behalf.
- Asked why he wanted the trademark, Robinson said it was an acronym for IP Application Development.
- Asked what business IPAD Ltd. was in, Robinson was evasive: ”I’m sure you can understand that we are not ready to publicize what the company’s business is,” he said, “since we have not yet made any public announcements.”
- He further stated, apparently in an e-mail, that “the company will not compete with Proview.”
Proview is suing Apple for fraud and unfair competition. As for how Proview is able to battle Apple in the courts? It is back by major Chinese banks as its creditors, such as the Bank of China Ltd. and China Minsheng Banking Corp. Apple is the world’s largest company by valuation, and it seems these backers want a pie of the pie. Apple has remained strong in its case as they noted to possess detailed email evidence of transactions between Proview and the IPAD shell company.
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