Apple's CEO May Have Footed the Bill for Apple's Patent Lawsuit Loss in China

July 09, 2012
By: Oliver VanDervoort

While Apple (News - Alert) rarely loses a patent court fight, they did indeed lose to Chinese company Proview. The iPad maker was ordered to pay about $60 million to Proview and in what can only be described as an illustration of the massive amount of money Apple’s CEO is raking in, it seems that Cook basically paid this fee out of his own wallet. 

Tim Cook recently turned down a $75 million dividend payment from the company, and it appears one of the reasons he did that was so that the company would have the funds available to pay off the court’s fee. In essence, Cook paid the fine himself.

The reasoning behind Cook personally taking this particular fine, according to business insiders in the industry, is that the company made a mistake in this particular patent fight. Those same insiders believe that because this was an actual mistake made by somebody high up in the company, the cost of the lawsuit should not be placed onto the company’s investors. Despite the fact that the patent infringement the company was responsible for was before Cook’s time, he is now the man in charge and therefore had to step up.

At the heart of this particular suit was a claim by Proview that Apple had acquired the name ‘IPad’ in a deceptive way. Apple set up a subsidiary and named the company IP Application Development Ltd (IPADL) and bought the name iPad from Proview’s Taiwanese affiliate for just $55,000. Agents from IPADL told Proview that the name was merely a shortening of their company and that they would not compete with Proview in China. Apple released the iPad just a few months after these successful negotiations. 

It appears that Apple didn’t exactly behave responsibly in any of the dealings with Proview. During the lawsuit, Apple claimed that Proview was trying to extort as much as $3 billion from them. They later claimed the Chinese company was looking for $400 million. Proview has saidthat the $60 million they earned from the lawsuit was about the number they had been seeking all along.




Edited by Brooke Neuman