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From: zax2/23/2012 7:55:44 AM
   of 29524
 
IPad Battle Reveals BOC as Apple Opponent
By Bloomberg News - Feb 23, 2012 5:27 AM CT

bloomberg.com  via Sr K

Apple’s IPad Trademark Battle

Kevin Lee/Bloomberg

Losing its Feb. 29 appeal would open Apple to lawsuits seeking damages and enable a nationwide ban on iPad sales in the Cupertino, California-based company’s biggest market outside the U.S.


Apple iPad 2 tablets are removed from a shelf at Saga IT Mall in Xian, China. Source: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images


Rowell Yang, founder of Proview International Holdings Ltd. Source: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Apple sued Proview’s Shenzhen-based unit in 2010, claiming ownership of the iPad trademark in China on the basis of the December 2009 contract that the U.S. company says gave it global rights to the name, including in China.


A general view of Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Source: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s legal fight for the iPad name in China doesn’t just pit the world’s most-valuable company against a failed Hong Kong display maker. Some of the nation’s biggest banks also are opposing the technology giant.

Apple is appealing a Chinese court ruling that the trademark belongs to a mainland unit of Proview International Holdings Ltd. (334) At the time Apple says it bought those rights, the Shenzhen subsidiary was controlled by creditors including Bank of China Ltd. (3988) and China Minsheng Banking Corp. (1988), according to Proview founder Rowell Yang.

Losing its Feb. 29 appeal would open Apple to lawsuits seeking damages and enable a nationwide ban on iPad sales in the Cupertino, California-based company’s biggest market outside the U.S. The dispute revolves on whether Proview’s Taiwan unit, to which Apple paid 35,000 British pounds ($55,163) to use the iPad name in China, had the right to sell it or whether that rested with the Shenzhen unit and its creditors.

“Right now, the most valuable asset of Proview Group is the iPad trademark registration in China,” said Eugene Low, a trademark lawyer at Mayer Brown JSM in Hong Kong. “Assuming the creditors have control of the affairs of Proview Shenzhen, it might be in their best interest to get a settlement as quickly as possible to monetize the Proview assets.”

‘Not True’ After Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co. defaulted on loans, the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in March 2009 appointed Bank of China and Minsheng to lead a reorganization of the company, Yang, who remains chairman of the unit, said in a Feb. 21 interview.

“We can’t make any agreements without the creditors,”Yang said. “We are under the monitoring and control of the court.” Chinese court documents are not publicly available to verify the claim.

No one in Shenzhen, a city neighboring Hong Kong, knew the Taiwan unit signed away the China trademarks, Yang said.

Apple says that’s not true. Proview “refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China,” said Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman. She declined to comment further, as the case is pending before the courts.

Proview’s wholly owned Shenzhen subsidiary obtained the iPad trademark in China in 2001, according to a Feb. 3, 2010, regulatory filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The mark was obtained for a desktop terminal with touch-screen display called the Internet Personal Access Device, or iPad, that the company developed starting in 1998, Yang said.

Court Rejects Apple sued Proview’s Shenzhen-based unit in 2010, claiming ownership of the iPad trademark in China on the basis of the December 2009 contract that the U.S. company says gave it global rights to the name, including in China. The Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court rejected Apple’s claims on Nov. 17.

“If the plaintiff wants to buy trademarks from the defendant, it should do so according to China’s laws and regulations by signing contracts with the defendant,” the judgment said.

The court said the purchase agreement was signed in the name of Proview’s Taipei-based subsidiary, Proview Electronics Co., which failed to demonstrate that the transfer was approved by the Shenzhen unit that owned the mark.

Apple appealed to the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong, said Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer representing Proview at Grandall Law Firm in Beijing. Hearings begin Feb. 29.

London Link Proview “hasn’t yet decided the final claim amount” it will seek from Apple, the company’s lawyer, Roger Xie, said last week. A 10 billion-yuan ($1.6 billion) sum cited by China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency in December was “preliminary,” he said.

Apple bought Proview’s trademarks through a U.K.-based unit called IP Application Development Ltd., or IPADL. Haydn Wood, who signed the agreement with Proview Electronics on behalf of IPADL, declined to comment on the agreement or lawsuits when contacted by Bloomberg News.

Sales of iPads reached 32 million worldwide last year, earning revenue of $20.4 billion. At $480 billion, Apple’s market capitalization surpasses the $454 billion value of all of Mexico’s listed companies, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Apple has itself to blame for failing to properly secure rights for the China market, said Ray Mai, the Shanghai-based lawyer who represented Proview in the 2009 talks with IPADL.

Apple Rush “At that time, Proview was not in good condition,” said Mai, whose signature is on the sales agreement. “On one side is this nearly bankrupt company, on the other is one of the strongest companies in the world. When we signed, Apple dispatched a lot of famous lawyers in front of me, very big law firms.”

Mai was outside counsel for Proview at the time and no longer represents the company, he said in a Feb. 17 phone interview. A copy of a business card from 2009 with Mai’s name on it described him as “director and lawyer” of Proview Technology (Shenzhen)’s legal department.

Apple was rushing to obtain trademark rights for the iPad name so it could roll out the product, Yang said. Then-Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs announced the iPad on Jan. 27, 2010, more than a month after the Proview contract was signed Dec. 23. Apple didn’t grasp the nature of the relationship between the Shenzhen trademark holder, its banks and the courts, Yang said.

“The banks controlled Proview Shenzhen from March 2009,”Yang said. “We needed bank approval for any sale of assets.”

Bank of China is still a Proview creditor, according to the Shenzhen-based press officer of the nation’s fourth-largest lender by market value, who declined to be identified citing company policy. An official at Minsheng Bank, who also declined to be identified, confirmed creditors control Proview’s Shenzhen assets. The banks declined to comment on the Apple case.

Rise, Fall The Proview Group was founded by Yang in Taiwan in 1989 as a maker of televisions and computer displays, and went public eight years later in Hong Kong.

By September 1999, it was among the world’s 10 biggest makers of computer monitors and planned to reach the top five“in the near future,” its annual report for that year shows. Sales expanded 10-fold from HK$1.77 billion ($228 million) in 1997 to HK$17.4 billion in 2008, when the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis expanded into a global slowdown.

Proview’s sales plunged 74 percent to HK$4.46 billion in 2009, when it lost HK$2.91 billion. As falling sales eroded cash flow, Proview units defaulted on payments to suppliers and creditors, the company said in its annual report that year.

Delisting Move “The Shenzhen factory, the group’s primary manufacturing base, could only continue its operation with the assistance of the municipal government and the Bank of China and other creditor banks,” it said.

The company last published results in March 2010, for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2009. It had a loss of HK$755.8 million and a deficit attributable to equity holders of HK$2.37 billion. Bank borrowings stood at HK$1.8 billion.

Proview’s Hong Kong shares have been suspended since Aug. 2, 2010. The Hong Kong stock exchange on Dec. 30 gave Proview a third and final warning that it would be removed from the bourse by June 29 if it failed to publish results and demonstrate sufficient working capital for 12 months.

On Dec. 2, Proview announced it had struck an agreement with investor Rally Praise Ltd. to restructure the company and raise capital. No record of a company with that name could be found using Internet and registry searches.

Export Threat Meantime, Proview is taking the fight to Apple. The company filed complaints to more than 40 local branches of the Administration for Industry and Commerce, according to Proview lawyer Ma. Court actions have been lodged in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Huizhou, he said.

Pudong District Court in Shanghai today rejected Proview’s application for an injunction against sales of iPads in the city to allow the Guangdong court to rule on who owns the trademark. Proview will appeal, Xie said.

Apple’s Wu said she didn’t immediately have information available on the case.

The decision of the Guangdong Higher People’s Court will likely be final, said He Fang, an intellectual property lawyer at Rouse & Co. International in Shanghai. In exceptional cases, litigants who lose a second decision can refer their cases to the Supreme People’s Court, the nation’s highest, He said.

Proview has also applied to the Customs Bureau to block exports as well as imports of iPads, it said last week.
“China’s Customs Bureau has powers not just on imports, but on exports, too, making it different from other countries,”He said. “Most of Apple’s iPads are manufactured in China, so if the Customs Bureau imposes restrictions on exports, then it becomes a global issue for Apple.”

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net; Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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To: FUBHO who wrote (16796)2/23/2012 8:05:40 AM
From: zax
   of 29524
 
Poisoned iPhone factory workers beg for reform in open letter
By: Zach Epstein | Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:40PM

bgr.com 



A pair of workers who claim to have been poisoned by toxins in a Suzhou, China factory while assembling touchscreens for Apple’s iPhone have written an open letter begging consumers to demand reform. SumOfUs, the organization behind the Ethical iPhone Campaign, released the letter in an email to the media on Wednesday afternoon. The letter was written by Guo Rui-qiang and Jia Jing-chuan, two former factory workers who urge consumers to sign SumOfUs’s petition and demand that Apple force its suppliers and manufacturing partners to improve working conditions at their Chinese factories. Both workers claim to have been poisoned by a chemical cleaner called N-hexane, and they have suffered neurological damage as a result. The Fair Labor Association is currently conduction inspections of two Foxconn factories, prompted by Apple, and while only preliminary inspections have been made at this point, the organization says it has already found “ tons of issues.” The workers’ letter follows below in its entirety.

Dear SumOfUs Members and Friends -

You don’t know us but you have seen our work. Until recently, we worked long hours assembling Apple’s iPhone touch screens in Suzhou, China.

In early 2010, it was independently confirmed that 137 workers, including us, were poisoned by a chemical called n-hexane which was used to clean iPhone screens.N-hexane is known to cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation, and leads to persistant nerve damage. Apple admitted to gross labour rights violations more than a year later.

If more people know about what we went through, Apple will feel pressured to change so other workers don’t have to suffer like we did.

Can you share this letter with your friends, and ask them to join you in signing our petition calling for a reform of working conditions at their factories?

We have been pressuring Apple, and its new CEO Tim Cook, for years to compensate those of us who were injured working for them, and demanding reform of working conditions at their Chinese factories so that their workers don’t suffer like we do. Now we need your help as customers or potential customers of Apple.

We need your help to send a message to Apple before their shareholder meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23rd. We want to see a strict corporate social responsibility and reform of the audit system to prevent similar tragedies in the future. He will listen to you as current or potential consumers.

You’ve already signed the petition, and 82,000 others have too — for that, we thank you. We believe it’d be symbolicly powerful if 100,000 people signed the petition before SumOfUs delivers it to Tim Cook on Thursday at their shareholder meeting. We’re really close to that goal, but we need you to share our request with your friends to get over the edge.

Can you share our letter with your friends, and ask them to sign the petition too?

It has been over two years since many of us were hospitalized and treated but our debilitating symptoms continue. Rui-Qiang still can’t find work because he can no longer stand for the long hours most jobs require. Jing-Chuan has to spend nearly $100 a month on health supplements.

But with all of us working together to pressure Apple to change, we can make sure what happened to us doesn’t happen to others too.

- Guo Rui-qiang and Jia Jing-chuan

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From: sylvester802/23/2012 8:09:04 AM
   of 29524
 
BREAKING..Android 4.0 ICS Update For ASUS Transformer TF101 Rolling Out Now, Starting With Taiwan
androidpolice.com 
Posted by Artem Russakovskii in ASUS, Eee Pad Transformer, Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, News

After numerous delays and much confusion (mostly due to ASUS Singapore being more out of touch with reality than other regional divisions), ASUS finally started the Ice Cream Sandwich over-the-air update process for the original Transformer TF101 today.

The official ASUS Facebook account stated that the OTA with version number 9.2.1.11 is going to be available in Taiwan first, followed by other regions "soon after." Hopefully, that means the rest of the world will be able to enjoy ICS within the next few days, barring any unexpected issues.

Dear valued ASUS fans,

ASUS prides itself on delivering the best products to end-users, which means that we not only aim to deliver innovative products but also to continue improving the out of box experience throughout their life cycle with regular firmware updates.

Many of our Eee Pad Transformer TF101 users have waited patiently for the promised Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update and we are delighted to announce that the first wave of FOTA updates for TF101 firmware v.9.2.1.11 started today in Taiwan. The update will FOTA in other regions soon after.

Although we will announce several new innovations at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, we take great pride in delivering on-going enhancements and support for products that are well into their life cycle.

Thank you once again for your valued support!

Source: ASUS, thanks Niccolò!

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To: sylvester80 who wrote (16863)2/23/2012 9:04:10 AM
From: zax
   of 29524
 
Syl,

You are welcome to post Android news here, but please don't treat TW as a simple mirror of your Android OS - GOOG board. Please think "best of" and relevance.

Thank you.

-- Zax


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To: zax who wrote (16864)2/23/2012 5:13:14 PM
From: Stock Puppy
   of 29524
 
Nice graphics.

Done on a PC?

:-)

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To: sylvester80 who wrote (16863)2/23/2012 5:19:32 PM
From: puborectalis
   of 29524
 
had to get back into AAPL today................As Cook reminded investors of Apple’s stunning year, in which its total fiscal 2011 revenue of $108 billion was up $43 billion from fiscal 2010, he pointed out that the company’s growth was greater than H-P’s, Dell,’s Nokia’s HTC’s, Google’s and RIM’s, all combined.And with shareholders sitting on a stock that recently hit a new high and is up 27% since January, they aren’t complaining much.


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To: puborectalis who wrote (16866)2/23/2012 5:32:31 PM
From: Sr K
   of 29524
 
Cook was referring to "growth" according to apple insider.com:

Apple earned $108 billion in the last fiscal year, $43 billion of which was new growth over the previous year. That, Cook said, was more growth that HP, Dell Nokia, HTC, Google and RIM combined. "Really mind blowing," Cook said, adding that it wasn't too long ago that Apple was reporting $5 billion revenues.

Cook noted an additional $46 billion in revenue for its first fiscal (winter) quarter, coyly adding, "we had an extra week, for full disclosure," eliciting laughs from the audience.

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From: iggyl2/23/2012 6:12:21 PM
   of 29524
 
Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web
22 Feb 2012 5:00 AM
Posted by Dave Heiner
Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Standards & Antitrust Group, Microsoft

Earlier today, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility and Google. We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products. Their offense? These products enable people to view videos on the Web and to connect wirelessly to the Internet using industry standards.

You probably take for granted that you can view videos on your smartphone, tablet, PC, or DVD/Blu-ray player and connect to the Internet without being tied to a cable. That works because the industry came together years ago to define common technical standards that every firm can use to build compatible products for video and Wi-Fi.Motorola and all the other firms that contributed to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would not use them to block competitors from shipping their products.

Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.

In legal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly. The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises. Watching video on the Web is one of the primary uses of computers these days. And we’ve all grown accustomed to “anytime, anywhere” access to the Internet, often made possible by the Wi-Fi standard. Imagine what a step back it would be if we could no longer watch videos on our computing devices or connect via Wi-Fi, or if only some products, but not others, had these capabilities. That would defeat the whole purpose of an industry standard.

The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are both focused on this problem. At the urging of competition law officials, Microsoft recently announced that it will not seek injunctions against other firms’ products on the basis of standard essential products (and Microsoft had never done so). Apple and Cisco made similar statements. Unfortunately, Google refused. Not surprisingly, the European Commission does not seem to be satisfied. Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner, said “I can assure you that the Commission will take further action if warranted to ensure that the use of standard essential patents by all players in the sector is fully compliant with EU competition law and with the FRAND commitments given to standard setting organisations.” The Department of Justice issued a similar statement. We know other companies in the industry share our concerns. Last week, Apple filed its own complaint against Motorola with the European Commission.

There is an obvious way out of all this. Motorola should honor its promises, and make its standard essential patents available on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. Microsoft is certainly prepared to pay a fair and reasonable price for use of others’ intellectual property. Within just the past few years, Microsoft has entered into more than a thousand patent licenses. We know how it’s done.

Unfortunately, Motorola has refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price. For a $1,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay a royalty of $22.50 for its 50 patents on the video standard, called H.264. As it turns out, there are at least 2,300 other patents needed to implement this standard. They are available from a group of 29 companies that came together to offer their H.264 patents to the industry on FRAND terms. Microsoft’s patent royalty to this group on that $1,000 laptop?

Two cents.

That’s right. Just 2 cents for use of more than 2,300 patents. (Windows qualifies for a nice volume discount, but no firm has to pay more than 20 cents per unit.) Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay more than 1,000 times that for use of just 50 patents.

And that is for a mid-level, $1,000 laptop. For a $2,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding double the royalty - $45. Windows is the same on both laptops, and so is the video support in Windows. But the high-end laptop will have a bigger hard drive, more memory, perhaps a titanium case—and Motorola is demanding a hefty royalty on all of this, even though none of these features implements Motorola’s video patents.

Imagine if every firm acted like Motorola. Windows implements more than 60 standards, and a PC supports about 200. If every firm priced its standard essential patents like Motorola, the cost of the patents would be greater than all the other costs combined in making PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices. Obviously, this would greatly increase the prices of these devices for consumers.

How does Motorola justify this pricing, for so few patents? In German court proceedings earlier this month, Motorola’s economics expert likened Motorola’s patents to bullets: “It only takes one bullet to kill,” he testified. At least we know what this particular lawsuit is trying to accomplish.

Google says that it is just trying to protect manufacturers of Android devices against patent actions by Microsoft and others. But there are big differences between Google’s approach and Microsoft’s. Microsoft is not seeking to block Android manufacturers from shipping products on the basis of standard essential patents. Rather, Microsoft is focused on infringement of patents that it has not contributed to any industry standard. And Microsoft is making its patents—standard essential and otherwise—available to all Android manufacturers on fair and reasonable terms. In fact, more than 70 percent of Android devices are now licensed to use Microsoft’s patent portfolio.

Google has a chance to make a change. For a company so publicly committed to protecting the Internet, one might expect them to join the growing consensus against using standard essential patents to block products. Every firm that is willing to pay a fair royalty ought to be able to implement industry standards. Adherence to this basic point is essential to keeping computer costs down and preserving the Internet as an open, interoperable platform.

Google’s unwillingness so far to make this commitment is very concerning. That’s why you can pretty well count on a chorus from across the industry: “Google: Please don’t kill video on the Web.”

European Commission, Standards, Intellectual property, Patent, Wireless, marketplace, Marketplace Featured, Featured, Wi-Fi


blogs.technet.com 

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To: iggyl who wrote (16868)2/23/2012 9:34:22 PM
From: zax
   of 29524
 
Something is really, really ironic about this.

We started with Google preaching for open standards, like its own WebM video codec, and condemning H.264 because of its associated licensing and royalties.

Google tried to push a video standard that was open and not reliant upon the h.264 standard.

Apple and Microsoft worked against Google on the matter.

Now Google is acquiring the patent and using it as a stick to fend off attacks on Android?


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From: zax2/24/2012 12:26:44 AM
   of 29524
 
Apple's China legal battle over iPad spreads to U.S.
Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:58pm EST

reuters.com 

(Reuters) - The Asian firm trying to stop Apple Inc from using the iPad name in China has launched an attack on the consumer electronics giant's home turf, filing a lawsuit in California that accuses the iPhone-maker of employing deception when it bought the "iPad" trademark.

A unit of Proview International Holdings Ltd, a major computer monitor maker that fell on hard times during the economic crisis, is already suing the U.S. company in multiple Chinese jurisdictions and requesting that sales of iPads be suspended across the country.

Last week, units Proview Electronics Co Ltd and Proview Techdnology Co filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County that brings their legal dispute to Silicon Valley.

Proview accuses Apple of creating a "special purpose" entity - IP Application Development Ltd, or IPAD - to buy the iPad name from it, concealing Apple's role in the matter.

In its filing, Proview alleged lawyers for IPAD repeatedly said it would not be competing with the Chinese firm, and refused to say why they needed the trademark.

Those representations were made "with the intent to defraud and induce the plaintiffs to enter into the agreement," Proview said in the filing dated February 17, requesting an unspecified amount of damages.

Apple, which has said Proview is refusing to honor a years-old agreement, did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The battle between a little-known Asian company and the world's most valuable technology corporation dates back to a disagreement over precisely what was covered in a deal for the transfer of the iPad trademark to Apple in 2009.

Authorities in several Chinese cities have already seized iPads, citing the legal dispute.

Proview, which maintains it holds the iPad trademark in China, has been suing Apple in various jurisdictions in the country for trademark infringement, while also using the courts to get retailers in some smaller cities to stop selling the tablet PCs.

China is becoming an increasingly pivotal market for Apple, which sold more than 15 million iPads worldwide in the last quarter alone and is trying to expand its business in the world's No. 2 economy to sustain its rip-roaring pace of growth.

The country is also where the majority of its iPhones and iPads are now assembled, in partnership with Foxconn.

A Shanghai court this week threw out Proview's request to halt iPad sales in the city. But the outcome of the broader dispute hinges on a higher court in Guangdong, which earlier ruled in Proview's favor.

The next hearing in that case is set for February 29.

China's trademark system is a minefield of murky rules and opportunistic "trademark squatters" that even the world's biggest companies and their highly-paid lawyers find hard to navigate.

Legal experts say the onus is on companies looking to do business in China to understand how China's trademark law works, as it differs greatly from that of the United States.

Industry executives have said employing special-purpose entities to acquire trademarks is a frequent tactic in China.

(Reporting By Edwin Chan; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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