Did you know that…

…Apple is struggling with trademark problems in China. Proview Electronics Co. Ltd (Taiwan Proview) and Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd (Shenzhen Proview) are sister companies owned by a listed company in Hong Kong. Taiwan Proview had registered the trademark ”iPad” in several countries in 2000 and trademarks number 1590557 ”IPAD” and 1682310 ”IPAD” (figurative mark) were registered by Shenzhen Proview in 2001. Prior to the Apple’s launch of iPads in China Apple and Taiwan Proview executed an assignment agreement for the assignment of the trademark rights to Apple. Shenzhen Proview refused to execute the agreement concerning the marks in China.

The Shenzhen Intermediate Court declared that the assignment agreement between Taiwan Proview and Apple was not legally binding on Shenzhen Proview. There was lack of evidence that the legal representative had been acting on behalf of Shenzhen Proview as well. At the moment Apple’s appeal to the High Court of Guangdong Provence is pending.

Due to this online retailers have discontinued selling iPads in China, because retailing infringing products can be seen as an infringing act. It’s also possible that iPads are to be seized at customs for potential trademark infringement.

…A popular pub in Southampton called ”The Hobbit” has faced some trademark infringement accusations by Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) that owns several brands associated with writer JRR Tolkien’s books The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.

The Facebook group created to support the pub has reached over 50 000 members and the little pub has gained also some powerful supporters like Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen. These actors have even offered to pay possible license fees for the pub. Now it seems that due to the substantial number of supporters and publicity SZC seems to be willing to settle things amicably.

SZC has also threatened another small family run café called ”The Hungry Hobbit” for insulting SZC’s exclusive rights. The café owner has offered to change the name to ”The Hungry ’Obbit” but it’s questionable if this will placate SZC. The company has also recently filed a trademark on term ”Shire” and movement in the Internet is growing. ”The battle for Helm’s Deep is over. The battle for the Middle-Earth is about to begin.