Reports: iPads taken off shelves in China over trademark dispute

Chinese resellers take Apple's tablet computers off shelves; local company which owns "iPad" trademark in China filing injunction to block sale of iPad in domestic market, says report.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Due to a trademark dispute between Apple and a Chinese company, Apple resellers in parts of China have taken iPad devices off shelves, say reports.

A Tuesday report from Chinese news site Hebei Daily said authorities in northern China seized 45 iPads, in response to a complaint of copyright infringement by local company Proview International.

According to a Tuesday report by Chinese news site CCStock, Proview Technology which holds the rights to the iPad trademark in China requested for an injunction to block the sale of the Apple iPad from the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court.

CCStock said authorities in Shijiazhuang have begun to inspect Apple reseller shops in its area for trademark-infringing Apple iPads while sellers in the area have taken the device off shelves.

Besides Shijiazhuang, the investigation have also reportedly started in other parts of China such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Jiangsu and Xuzhou.

CCStock added that Apple's appeal over the ownership of the iPad trademark in China will begin in court in about 15 days. If Apple loses its second appeal, it could be fined 300 billion yuan (US$47.6 billion), it noted.

Apple had previously accused Proview of infringing its iPad trademark, but this was rejected by Chinese courts last December.

According to a 2010 report by ZDNet Asia's sister site, CNET, the Taipei unit of Proview had registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000, while a Hong Kong unit registered the trademark for mainland China in 2001.

Apple bought the patent rights from Proview's Taipei unit in February 2010 through a British company IP Application Development.

However, Proview claims it still reserves the right to use the trademark in mainland China.

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