Saturday28 January 2023

Tim Cook Visits China To Talk About Growth, But Is That All He Is After?

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tim_cook_0115Tim Cook’s recent visit to China has made more than a few headlines especially considering their position they are in right now. Not only do they have the world looking at them over issues at with Foxconn facilities, but they are also in a rather ugly legal battle with ProView over who actually owns the trademark name iPad. On the surface Cook’s visit is to discuss growth and expansion in China (which actually only means more money to Foxconn and the Chinese government). However, Cook is also more than likely there to try and squash the upstart ProView and a level higher than the Chinese court system.

Before you fire off that comment about how one does not have anything to do with the other you might want to check out some interesting facts about Apple in China. Right now China is the second largest market for the Apple iPhone, but they have been losing ground to Samsung over the past year. They need to broker a few more deals with the existing telecoms to make sure their presence is bigger there. Having multiple companies selling your product is always a good thing. Apple is working on a deal with China Mobile (the largest telecom there) which would be a huge boost to their presence.

On the Tablet side of things the iPad and iPad2 represent 75% of the market in China which is very good until you think about the potential ban that could be imposed if ProView wins their suit against Apple. This possibility is actually a bigger possibility than most people think as it is no longer about Tradmark law, but contract law that will win or lose this case. Apple has to show that they legally purchased the rights from the correct owners. This is more complicated than it sounds as Apple did not buy it from Proview a company called IP Application Development did. They also may have purchased this under false pretense and with intent to mask the reason for purchase. Proview has shown documents stating that the purchase of the trademark would not be for a competing product which Apple’s iPad most certainly is.

On top of this, if Apple loses China’s new laws on trademark infringement would increase the penalties that Apple would have to pay for infringing on Proview’s trademark. Proview has already stated that they will continue the fight for as long as they need to, which means that Apple could be forced to attempt to find an alternative method for getting what it wants.

Of course squashing the suit in China does not remove the suit in the US that ProView has filed. Here in the US they are alleging that Apple used a shell company to defraud them in the purchase of the iPad Trademark (well the Taiwanese subsidiary is). Apple is in something of a bind there. If they try to get removed from the suit it could hurt their claim on the trademark and also have an impact on their ability to claim ownership of the trademark in China for the purposes of their litigation there (after all IP Application Development bought the rights not Apple).

Things are getting messy for Cook and Apple under his leadership not only does he have to worry about China, but there are problems with the New iPad and its claims of 4G in Australia that he has to worry about now.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 10:55

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