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Meet the iPAD: the device that could slay the iPad

iPads have been seized in China over a patent dispute, threatening UK sales, and a computer from 2000 is the reason why.

Could the iPad be banned? Earlier this week, devices were seized in China over a patent dispute, and the same could happen here in the UK. Chinese company Shenzhen Proview Technology claims it owns the name 'iPad' in China, and is trying to ban exports. It's revealed details of its own iPAD computer it released way back in the year 2000 to back up its case, The Wall Street Journal reports.

And here it is. As you can see, it doesn't look much like an iPad, but it does look quite a lot like the original iMac, which was released a couple of years earlier.

Last year a court ruled in Proview's favour. Earlier this week iPads were seized from sale in Shijiazhuang and Xuhou in China, but the dispute could threaten global sales of the tablet. Proview said it would ask customs officials to stop imports and exports of the iPad, which is made in China -- so that iPad 3 launch we're expecting on 7 March? Might not happen.

Proview has asked regulators in more than 40 cities to investigate possible trademark violations.

"We have appealed to Apple through its agents to have a settlement, but so far we have not received any response from them," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Proview.

Proview held a press conference where it handed out scans of an advert for the iPAD. It said it spent $30 million on the computer, and produced between 10,000 and 20,000 units from 1998 and 2009, when the dispute with Apple came about. 

It's unclear who's in the right on this one. Proview registered the iPad trademark in 2001, then Apple bought the rights to the name from a Taiwenese affiliate, but Proview claims it still owns the name in China. Apple appealed the court decision last year, so we'll have to wait and see how it works out.

Could this 12-year-old computer kill the iPad? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or over on Facebook.