Proview attempting to ban all imports and exports of iPad tablets in China
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The China-listed Proview International Holdings Ltd. is currently engaged in a legal battle with Apple Inc. over the iPad name. Reportedly, if Apple ultimately loses, the results could be financially “catastrophic” for the US-based company because there will be a worldwide shortage of iPads and also because most Apple products (perhaps even all) are manufactured by Foxconn in China.
The background to the saga is that Proview successfully registered the iPad trademark in China back in 2001 (at that time iMac and iTunes were already quite popular names globally) and in 2006, a subsidiary of the company sold the iPad name to a London-based (and set up by Apple for £35,000) firm called “IP Application Development” for $55,000. A few months later Apple bought the iPad name from IP Application Development for £10.
Proview Shenzhen, which is part of Proview International Holdings Ltd. claims the purchase did not include the Chinese rights that still belong to them. As a result, both companies have been suing each other into oblivion for the last couple of years.
Apple has reportedly lost the trademark infringement lawsuit in late 2011 and is now appealing the decision of the court. In the meantime, the Chinese Administrators of Industry and Commerce (AIC) began confiscating iPad 2 tablets from local stores, while retailers have been ordered not to sell the slates.
Proview also wants to ban all iPad imports and exports in China; however, according to a report from Reuters, the Chinese customs have told Proview that “it will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products.”
Industry sources claim that it might be better for Apple to get an out-of-court settlement. Nevertheless, if that does not happen the two companies will see each other in court again on 22nd February.
We will keep you updated as the story unfolds.