Apple may face problems in China for the upcoming release of their iPad 3 tablet computer. They are locked in battle with Proview, a company who claim that Apple are infringing on the ‘iPad trademark’.
Proview have filed for a customs ban with local authorities to stop the import and export of the tablet. Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer for display based Proview said the company are taking action to protect the iPad trademark. He said “We feel that Apple is infringing on the iPad trademark.”
This bizarre legal battle has been ongoing now for some time. In December a Shenzhen court rejected Apple’s claims to the trademark. China is a key market for Apple, especially as many of the factories who build the tablet are based there. If the customs ban is authorised it might not damage export trade however. Stan Abrams, an intellectual property lawyer and professor at Beijing’s Central Univeristy of Finance and Economics said “Apple can come back and say to the government, ‘We have the right to make stuff here,'” he said.
Apple are being investigated in China by 30 commercial regulatory offices in China, following these complaints from Proview. Shijiazhuang, a city in China have already seized iPad tablets from merchants, according to reports.
Apple are appealing the December ruling against their ownership of the iPad trademark. It may end up that Apple have to give Proview a lot of cash to settle the ownership battle, but Apple have yet to make any announcement on the subject.
Kitguru says: In a worst case scenario, Apple may have to pay damages to Proview for past and future iPad sales which could end up very costly.