Chinese Authorities Seize Apple iPads in Trademark Dispute

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Chinese flag displayed on an iPadA dispute over the ownership of the name “iPad” in China has resulted in local authorities in that country to seize Apple iPads from retail stores in one northern city, Shijiazhuang. Proview Technology, which is located in Shenzhen, claims ownership of the iPad name and wants the devices removed from an additional 20 cities.

It seems that Proview Technology sent letters to authorities in Shijiazhuang, which is southwest of Beijing. The Washington Post reported an economic investigation official as saying that all iPads had been taken off the shelves in the Xinhua district in Shijiazhuang. He gave no indication of how many locations or devices had been involved.

Apple has only five of its own Apple Store retail locations in China, and none of them are based in the affected area. Authorized (and unauthorized) resellers, however, are in many cities across the country.

The iPad name was registered in China to Proview back in 2001. A Taiwanese affiliate, Proview Taipei, registered the iPad name in various countries as far back as 2000. Apple purchased rights to the name from Proview Taipei in 2009 for US$54,700.

Proview claims it still has rights to the name in mainland China. In December, a Chinese court rejected a complaint from Apple that Proview was violating its rights to the iPad name. Proview then filed a complaint with the commercial bureau in Beijing in January.

Proview is also asking for all promotional material using the iPad name in the additional 20 unidentified cities to be destroyed. In an earlier court filing, the firm asked for US$1.6 billion in damages.

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6 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

I wonder if Proview Technology has a tablet, is developing one, or is just sitting on the iPad name.

wab95

Proview is also asking for all promotional material using the iPad name in the additional 20 unidentified cities to be destroyed. In an earlier court filing, the firm asked for US$1.6 billion in damages.

This is squatting at its most egregious, although admittedly we should know more about what product this company has put on the market under that name. Anything?

Given the demonstrable demand for Apple products in China (e.g. iPhone 4S release), does this company, Proview, or for that matter, Chinese officials, have any concern for the public fallout if Apple pulls the iPad from Chinese retail stores?

While I should think that possibility is remote in the extreme, by now this parasitic behaviour should be transparent, if not repugnant, to all.

zewazir

I wonder what would happen to this issue if Apple started making noise about pulling some of their larger component manufacturing contracts out of China and awarding them to facilities in other countries?  If China wants to screw Apple over something like this, maybe it would be cheaper in the long run to find others willing to manufacture components and run assembly plants.

craigf

Looks like it is time to move the planned Foxconn plants in Brazil to the front burner.

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/foxconn_rumored_to_be_building_5_new_factories_in_brazil/

Apparently ProView is a failed monitor manufacturer that once upon a time planned to make a tablet called the IPAD but ran out if money before it could.

I’m surprised that anyone would be permitted to register a trademark so similar to iPod.

Lee Dronick

Looks like it is time to move the planned Foxconn plants in Brazil to the front burner.

For a number of reasons I think a business such as Apple would be smart to diversify manufacturing and assembly locations. I hope that it never happens, but I can see a time when there is a war in the Western Pacific/East Asia.

furbies

The iPad name was registered in China to Proview back in 2001. A Taiwanese affiliate, Proview Taipei, registered the iPad name in various countries as far back as 2000. Apple purchased rights to the name from Proview Taipei in 2009 for US$54,700.

Someone really needs to find out just what the actual text of the contract between Apple & Proview was.

Did Apple really buy the rights for world wide use or only for use outside China ?

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