Chinese Manufacturer Accuses Apple of Ripping Off iPad Design, Threatens Lawsuit

A manufacturing company in China is accusing Apple of ripping off the design of the iPad from a tablet it introduced in Berlin in 2009. Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial (SGLBI) of Shenzhen, China, thinks the iPad is copied from its own Windows tablet, the sexily named P88 (see image below). The company said it would sue Apple if and when the iPad was introduced to the Chinese market.

The news was broken by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which reported that company president Xiaolong Wu, said: "I was very angry and flabbergasted two days ago when I saw the news of the iPad presentation. It is certainly our design. They've stolen [it] because we presented our P88 more than six months ago at the IFA (International Electronics Fair in Berlin)."

The devices share several characteristics: They're both rectangular, they both have a touch screen...And that's it. The P88 runs the tablet version of Windows, the P88 is thicker (22mm for the P88 vs. 13.4mn for the iPad), and larger. The P88 also comes with a variety of ports and inputs the iPad lacks, making the iPad a poor copy if that was Apple's intent.

The P88 uses a hard drive, compared to the Flash memory storage on the iPad, offers 1.5 hours of battery life, compared to 10 hours on the iPad, and is more expensive, at US$535 (available only in China), compared to the $499 price tag on the entry level 16GB iPad.

El Mundo noted that the P88 itself resembles the Apple product lines that spawned the iPad, namely the iPhone and iPod touch. That's not an issue, according to Mr. Wu, because the, "[the iPhone and P88] are products with a completely different function."

No word yet on whether Mr. Xiaolong is familiar with the English word "irony."

Mr. Xiaolong is concerned about how the iPad could negatively affect sales of the P88 should it come to China. He noted that sales of the device have so far been lackluster, but lackluster could turn to worse-than-lackluster should Apple compete with its stolen design.

"We are considering legal action, but we can not do much in the United States. But if Apple brings the iPad to China, we will be forced to [sue] them, because it will certainly affect our sales," he said

The P88
The iPad