iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

Summary: According to reports, iPads are being confiscated from stores in China by local authorities, leading to some retailers hiding their stock.

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TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Mobility, China
16

Reports are surfacing that Apple iPads are being removed from retail stores in China, as a result of the ongoing trademark dispute with Proview.

Spooked store owners have begun hiding their stock to avoid it being confiscated.

Government officials seized 45 Apple iPad 2 tablets over the weekend in a raid of an Apple reseller in Shijiazhuang. The raid was part of the ongoing investigation into Apple's trademark disputes in China, which continues to take a turn for the worse.

Chinese news site Hebei Youth Daily reports that following the raid, any iPad found on sale is being confiscated by the Chinese Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC). This has led to some store-owners removing their own stock from shelves.

For customers, however, "if you ask for an iPad you can still buy one." Official Apple stores seem to be unaffected, and the iPad is still on sale despite individual retailers concerns.

At this stage it is not clear whether the actions of the AIC are just those of local authorities or whether this is the beginning of a nationwide enforcement.

However the Company has indicated that it has requested similar action in more than 20 other cities across China.

One blogger, Stan Abrams, predicted the AIC raids a few days ago. He said there was "no reason at all AIC could not raid all the Apple stores and resellers in Xicheng District and effectively shut down all iPad sales there."

The Apple vs. Proview dispute is very high profile, and Apple has a huge amount of sway, so making a nationwide step against them seems unlikely at this point.

Proview Technology (Shenzen) originally registered the trademark 'iPad' in China back in 2000. Proview Electronics (Taiwan) later sold on the 'global trademark' in 2006 to a company called IP Application Development, which at the time they did not believe to be connected to Apple. It then bought rights from IP Application Development in 2010.

Proview's claim is based around the idea that the trademarks for the Chinese market were not included in that agreement, as they had been filed under a different affiliate of the group's holding company.

Last year, Apple lost their claim that Proview was infringing on the trademark with a product of their own entitled 'iPad', which a Shenzhen court rejected.

China is still an important market for Apple. Chief executive Tim Cook said that it was "very key" to Apple's earnings last July.

The full extent of the trademark ruling remains to be seen, but Apple stands to lose a steak in an important market, especially with the iPad 3 rumoured to be announced soon.

Image source: Hebei Youth Daily/ifeng.com.

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Topics: iPad, Apple, Mobility, China

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16 comments
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  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    China enforcing trademarks... Where's the irony?
    themarty
    • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

      @themarty The irony is that the company who files the most IP lawsuits seems to be getting hit the hardest these days!
      slickjim
    • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

      @themarty have you seen the Steve Jobs knock-off they have featured in a TV commercial, complete with angel wings and halo? Search YouTube - I was left speechless.
      ejhonda
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    Oh it is all good and well when you're on the attack but when somebody fights back and wins, it has to hurt! Especially in emerging markets like mainland China!

    I hope Apple gets enough of these legal blows that they decide it is cheaper to just work with the companies directly.
    slickjim
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    i predict the ejection of Apple from china in full. Even from foxxconn. Even better is this is going to hurt apple further by not being able to sell to 1 billion people. thats 3x the US's population.
    Nate_K
    • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

      @Nate_K You may hate Apple, but its fall would hurt the U.S. economy.
      IAmMarty
      • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

        @IAmMarty I did not know apple products were made in the U.S. I just keep seeing stuff about their products being made in China. So if this is the case, then the U.S. market would just move to something else. Some impact, yes but nothing major like a company that makes things in the U.S. going down.
        The major impact would be finding a camparable product.
        kevin.nichols@...
      • Apparently you don't have the intelligence to understand simple facts

        kevin.nichols@... Apple products may be manufactured in China, but the people working at Foxconn are not the only ones working on Apple products.

        Apple has a very large workforce of direct and indirect employees. Or do you think that nobody at the Apple store gets a paycheck ... or at Best Buy or Micro Center or Fry's or Amazon or ......
        wackoae
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    Whoever finds the lost "steak" in the market should grill it, invite a few friends over, and pull the cork on a nice bottle of chianti. Just a little typo in an otherwise well-written and informative article! ;-)
    InternetSecurityAnalyst
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    Given the amount of manufacturing Apple does in China... Apple need only hint at the possibility of moving some facilities, and Presto! no more confusion as to who owns the rights to i* there.
    M in the beach
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    Doesn't this interfere with the whole "One China" policy when they claim that the Taiwanese license didn't cover the Chinese market?
    littlexav
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    Watching China and Apple fight about IP = priceless
    Zippereye125
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    "stands to lose a steak in an" slight flub there. That should be stands to lose a <i>stake</i> in an"...
    RyuDarragh
    • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

      @RyuDarragh Actually that steak wasn't lost... it was nicely done medium well with some A1 bold, a loaded baked potato, and some broccoli with garlic sauce on the side. Damn, now I really do want a steak for dinner... excuse me while I fire up the grill!
      athynz
  • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

    Funny a country not afraid to leach on the back of anybodies trademarks, IP, or even human rights is now being given so much sympathy from the tech community. If this were not an Apple fiasco, everyone may remember being sold that fake as an original, or may remember when the software license was revoked as seen as a pirated copy, oh and god forbid the poor farmers now hanging themselves as they fill motherboards for almost every OEM out their (including Apple). Where does the hate and hypocrisy stop?
    partman1969@...
    • RE: iPads seized from shelves in China over trademark dispute

      @partman1969@...
      Exactly, China is the pirate of the trademarks/IP world and now suddenly they are enforcing laws to protect it?!?

      Maybe China should focus their "law enforcement" on all those shadow factors knocking off Western patents. This country plain and simply does not play by the rules of fair business and should be viewed and treated as what they are, thieves. The West needs to wise up and start moving manufacturing to South America.
      KBabcock75