iPad facing threatened import, export ban in China

Apple is taking fire from a Chinese company that says it still owns the iPad trademark there--and which now wants an import and export ban.

Apple's legal headache over the iPad trademark in China is getting worse, now that a local company is seeking a ban on iPad imports and exports there.

Bloomberg reports that Proview International Holdings, which says it owns the rights to the iPad name in China, has filed paperwork with the country's customs body seeking a ban of both imports and exports of the device.

Should Proview succeed, its move could dramatically affect Chinese sales of the popular device--not to mention its worldwide distribution. The iPad, just like many other popular Apple products including the iPhone and iPod Touch, is assembled in China.

The original legal fracas began shortly after the iPad was introduced. In 2010, Apple took aim at Proview for infringing its trademark of the iPad name. Proview countered by saying it registered for the trademark in several countries with filings dating back to 2000, and that when Apple acquired the name from United Kingdom-based IP Application Development in 2006, Proview never actually signed off on the deal, since it was made by one of the company's subsidiaries.

"Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China," Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told Bloomberg in a statement. "Our case is still pending in mainland China."

Apple's original claims against Proview were rejected by the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court in November. Last month Apple filed an appeal with the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province, seeking once again to have its case heard. Proview responded by filing a temporary restraining order on Apple in an attempt to keep it from using the iPad name. A report earlier this week said that local authorities were already seizing iPad stock from third-party retailers, a move that may have been related to that order.

The scuffle is one of many Apple has run into as it attempts to maintain control over the names of its products and features. Several battles emerged last year over its technologies' names, including " App Store ," " multi-touch ," and " iCloud ."

 

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