Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Legal Side of Innovation Strikes Again...

I just read an interesting, shocking, disappointing, disheartening, and a lot of "ing" provoking article on Yahoo News today. Titled "Apple may face iPad export ban in China trademark dispute," the article speaks directly to a topic a discussed in my book "Living in the Innovation Age." The topic is highlighted as a side box and is appropriately titled "The Legal Side of Innovation" since it discusses the how intellectual property (IP) law serves as a double-edged sword that on the one hand protects an innovator's hard work and yet on the other hand creates impediments in the road to innovation.

That's exactly what is happening in the Yahoo News article that I mentioned above. A Chinese technology firm, Proview, claims that it owns the iPad trademark and is seeking a ban on exports of Apple Inc's computer tablets in from China. It goes without saying that Apple is not too happy since this could strike a major blow to iPad sales worldwide. Not only is China a huge consumer market but it is a major production base for Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod. Chinese local media have reported that Proview is taking legal action, seeking up to 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in compensation from Apple for trademark infringement. That, however, could be the least of Apple's problems. So what went wrong? Was Apple lax in its due diligence, or did Apple just choose to "ignore" this issue thinking they would cross that bridge when they came to it, or is Proview misrepresenting the facts?

As a spectator, I look forward to seeing how this case unravels...

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