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iPad trademark conflict escalates; call for Chinese import, export ban

Apple's trademark dispute is poised to escalate, as Proview seeks a ban on imports and exports of iPad's from Chinese customs.
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Written by Hana Stewart-Smith on

The Proview vs. Apple trademark clash has escalated once more, with Proview making a request to Chinese customs to ban the imports and exports on Apple iPad 2 tablets.

Yesterday, it was reported that local authorities were seizing the tablets from retail stores in China, and that store-owners were hiding their stock to avoid confiscation.

Proview International Holdings is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Apple over the 'iPad' trademark, and is taking steps to block sales on the Chinese mainland.

A lawyer representing Proview, Roger Xie, said: "We are now working on a request to China customs to ban and seize all the import and export of the iPad products that have violated the trademark."

Although this might seem like a bad situation for Apple, it is important to remember that China customs may decide against such drastic action because of Apple's global profile.

Either way, the pressure is on Apple to reach a settlement. Foxconn Technology Group currently produces the iPad in China, and a ban on exports would be disastrous for Apple.

However, Beijing-based lawyer Stan Abrams is urging consumers not to panic. He explained that, "all the steps taken thus far, including a future customs action if it comes to that, are par for the course when it comes to trademark infringement."

He also speculated that, even if Proview does choose to seize Apple shipments, they might not have "the financial wherewithal to put up the bond for a seizure."

Proview has previously been open about its financial troubles, with chairman Yang Rongshang admitting in 2010 that it is "in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset."

The company has already filed trademark infringement complaints with at least 20 local government agencies to enforce the removal of iPad's from stores.

Image source: Hebei Youth Daily/ifeng.com.

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