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A ban on iPads in China? Not a chance, Beijing says

Chinese tech firm Proview, suing over the iPad name, says China's customs authorities have informed it they won't ban the iPad--because consumers love Apple products.

It looks like Proview won't be able to get China to ban the iPad.
It looks like Proview won't be able to get China to ban the iPad.

China's customs authorities were recently asked to make a choice between Apple and one of their own country's companies. They chose Apple.

In an interview posted today by Reuters, Proview Technology, which is suing Apple over its use of the iPad name, said that it was told by Chinese customs that the popularity of devices like the iPhone and iPad is enough for the country to likely keep them on store shelves, regardless of what Proview wants.

"The customs have told us that it will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products," Proview chief executive Yang Long-san told Reuters. "The sheer size of the market is very big. We have applied to some local customs for the ban and they'll report to the headquarters in Beijing."

The trouble between the firms started in 2010 after Apple unveiled the iPad. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company sued Proview, saying that its use of the term "iPad" was in violation of its trademark. Proview soon countered, saying that it registered for the trademark back in 2000--six years before Apple claims to have acquired the iPad trademark.

Late last year, a Chinese court rejected Apple's claims, prompting the company to appeal the decision last month. Meanwhile, Proview filed a temporary restraining order against Apple, requesting it stop using the iPad name. This week, Proview followed that up with requests to ban both imports and exports of Apple's iPad.

Those requests seemed to be working earlier this week, as the iPad was removed from some Chinese store shelves. Based on what the company said today, though, it appears that its chances of getting the Chinese government to play nice over the long term are slim. Apple is simply too important to China--from both a jobs and revenue perspective--for the country to allow a single company to upend its relationship with the iPhone maker.

Even so, if Proview can't ban the iPad, a court victory could see it earn about $1.6 billion from Apple in damages.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the Reuters report.