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China firm preparing for Apple iPad talks: lawyer
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Feb 21, 2012

A Chinese firm involved in a trademark row with Apple over the iPad name is preparing for talks with the US technology giant, the Chinese firm's lawyer said Tuesday, raising hopes for a settlement.

Electronics firm Proview Technology (Shenzhen) says it owns the Chinese rights to the "iPad" trademark and has sought to block sales of Apple's iconic tablet computer in China as well as imports and exports of the device.

Apple last year took the firm to a Chinese court, claiming trademark infringement, but the court ruled the US company lacked "supporting facts and evidence" for its claim.

Apple is now appealing the case but debt-laden Proview, which makes computer monitors, has since itself filed trademark lawsuits against Apple in China and is threatening to sue the technology giant in the United States for $2 billion.

"We are now preparing for negotiations," Proview's lawyer, Xie Xianghui, told AFP. "The court cases will continue until we reach an agreement."

He declined to give further details, but he added Apple had told Proview it had "peaceful intentions".

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Analysts expect the companies will reach an out-of-court settlement.

"Apple has so much cash, they will look at the situation, they will look at how their profits are going to be impacted, and if it looks like it is going to be significant they will just pay and take care of it," said Ben Cavender, a senior analyst at China Market Research Group.

A Shanghai court is scheduled on Wednesday to hear a case by Proview against Apple, Xie said.

Apple's law firm on Monday warned Proview of possible legal action over "defamatory statements and unlawful actions" aimed at interfering with Apple's business, according to a letter seen by AFP.

The letter to Proview chief executive Yang Rongshan said Proview had made "false and misleading" statements to the public regarding the case.

In another lawsuit, a Chinese court last week ordered an electronics chain store to stop selling Apple iPads at a branch in the southern city of Huizhou, according to the GH Law Firm which represented Proview.

Proview, based in China's southern boomtown of Shenzhen, has also filed complaints with local governments in several Chinese cities, resulting in seizures of iPads in at least two places.

The Taiwan affiliate of Proview Technology (Shenzhen) registered "iPad" as a trademark in several countries including China as early as 2000 -- years before Apple began selling the product.

The US giant subsequently bought the rights for the global trademark, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) claims its Taiwan affiliate had no right to sell the Chinese rights.

Both the companies are units of Hong Kong-listed Proview International Holdings, whose shares have been suspended from trading since August 2010.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen)'s Yang last week denied he was trying to get compensation from Apple to bail out his cash-strapped company.

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Apple settles iPhone 4 antenna lawsuit: report
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 20, 2012 - Apple has reached a settlement over a class-action lawsuit filed over the antenna problem which dogged the 2010 launch of its iPhone 4, according to a statement published Monday.

Apple promises to pay $15 or give a free case to every US customer who bought one of the popular phones released in June 2010, but immediately faced problems with voice calls, the CNET tech website reported.

The problem was identified as being due to people gripping the smartphone by part of the lower left corner, strangling signal strength through the silver edging designed as part of the antenna system.

"This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated that they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4, and didn't want to take advantage of a free case from Apple when it was being offered in 2010," Apple told CNET in a written statement.

But Ira Rothken, a lead attorney in the class-action case, said more than 21 million iPhone 4 owners were eligible for the payout, adding that the free case offer lasted for three months.

"We believe that the Apple iPhone 4 settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable," Rothken told CNET.

"We believe that it allows members of the class to choose, and they can get $15 of cash or a bumper, so we believe that type of choice is proportional to the circumstances."

Under the settlement, eligible customers should get an e-mail from Apple some time in April, and will have 120 days to apply for the $15. A website, iPhone4Settlement.com, has been set up but is not yet activated, CNET said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the settlement, or the statement given to CNET.


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US iPad owners tend to be older, have money
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 17, 2012
US owners of iPads tend to be older and richer than people who buy rival tablet computers, according to a study released on Friday by NPD Group. The industry trackers Tablet Adoption and Insights Report showed that more than 40 percent of iPad owners had household incomes of $100,000 or more with only 26 percent of those owning non-Apple tablets rising into that bracket. Apple's cheapest ... read more

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