Chinese iPad Trademark Could Halt Global Sales


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Proview International Holdings is a company in China known for their CRT and LCD monitors. They also own the iPad trademark in China which is causing a bit of trouble for Apple.

Since Proview owns the iPad trademark in China, they can do what they want with it. Apple is fighting them in China over the use of the name, but so far, it’s not working very well in their favor. To add even graver wounds to injury, Proview is asking for a block of all iPad imports and exports.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Proview’s lawyer, Roger Xie, said that they are unable to reach an agreement with Apple which has led to the surprising move to attempt a block of iPad exports from the country.

“We are applying to customs to stop any trademark- infringing products from imports to China and also for exports,” Xie said. “Apple wants to postpone and continue infringement of the iPad in China.”

Carolyn Wu, Apple’s Beijin spokeswoman, said that Apple bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 countries, including China.

“Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China,” Wu said. “Our case is still pending in mainland China.”

If Proview is granted the export ban, it would be a major blow to Apple as all iPads are made in China. This increases the pressure on Apple to just settle instead of trying to fight since Proview has the home court advantage.

While it seems that this whole mess started recently, it’s actually a pretty old fight between the two tech companies. Apple sued Proview back in 2010 over the iPad trademark. Apple took the case to the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court where they rejected Apple’s claim to the iPad trademark. Apple is now appealing that decisioin to the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong province.

Proview fired back with a trademark infringement case against Apple in Shanghai in an attempt to halt iPad sales in Apple’s stores in China. The case is scheduled to begin February 22.

Proview separately filed trademark infringement complaints with 20 local government agencies. Those officials have begun seizing iPads in local markets according to Xie.

Proview has yet to set a final claim amount, but initial reports are pegging it at 10 billion yuan, or $1.6 billion.

If Apple and Proview can’t reach an agreement, expect very interesting things from the iPad maker.