Proview vs. Apple: Exports ban hard to impose

Proview, the Chinese company battling with Apple over trademark infringement, has been informed by customs that a ban on iPad imports and exports is unlikely.

Chinese customs have informed Proview, the company currently battling with Apple over the alleged trademark infringement of the 'iPad' name, that a ban on imports and exports is unlikely to happen.

Yesterday it was reported that Proview were seeking a ban from customs in China on the imports and exports of Apple's iPad tablets as part of the ongoing legal dispute. However, in an interview with Reuters it was revealed that custom authorities had told them such a ban would be hard to impose.

"The customs have told us that it will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products. The sheer size of the market is very big," said Yang Long-San, chief of Proview Technology (Shenzen).

Over the weekend local authorities were involved with the seizing of Apple iPad's from retailers, and Proview has already appealed to authorities in 20 cities to stop sales of the allegedly trademark infringing tablets.

Although Apple is so far losing the legal struggle over their use of the 'iPad' trademark on the Chinese mainland, its popularity among customers makes a wholesale ban on sales of the product problematic.

Yesterday, I speculated that Chinese customs may avoid getting involved with the legal dispute due to Apple's high profile, and it seems that Apple's reputation is raising some concerns for authorities.

A ban on exports would be disastrous for the Western technology giants, as its iPad tablets are produced by Foxconn in China.

However Beijing based lawyer Stan Abrams also raised the issue of the heavy costs of seizing Apple shipments, which would be a huge obstacle for Proview.

Despite losing the potential support of Chinese customs, Roger Xie, a lawyer representing Proview, indicated that the company intends to continue putting pressure on Apple.

"We will be asking commerce departments of more cities to investigate and deal with the case accordingly," said Xie.

Image source: Hebei Youth Daily/ifeng.com.

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