More iPads have been seized from Chinese retailers as a David and Goliath-style trademark dispute between Apple and a smaller company escalates.
Shenzhen Proview Technology claims it owns the iPad name in China and a court ruled in its favor last year. The row is threatening global sales of the tablet computer – which are made in China
This week the Chinese company said it would ask customs officials to stop imports and exports of iPads, which are made in China. According to a website run by China Business News, iPads were seized in the central city of Zhengzhou and the eastern port of Qingdao.
Seizures were also reported in Shijiazhuang and Xuzhou.
Proview has also said it has asked regulators in more than 40 cities to investigate possible trademark violations. The company is reportedly deeply in debt, with some observers suggesting it needs a large settlement to repay creditors. “We have appealed to Apple through its agents to have a settlement, but so far we have not received any response from them,” said a lawyer for Proview, Xie Xianghui.
An employee at the press office of Zhenghou’s Administration of Industry and Commerce confirmed some iPads were seized there.
“One of our local offices seized iPads from a shop and sealed them off based on the Chinese Trademark Law, although we did not carry out a city-wide seizure,” the official said. Shenzhen Proview Technology is a subsidiary of LCD screen maker Proview International Holdings Ltd, which has its headquarters in Hong Kong.
Proview registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001. Apple bought rights to the name from a Taiwanese affiliate, but the mainland company says it still owns the name in China. A Chinese court rejected Apple’s claim to the name in China last year, but Apple has appealed. Apple, meanwhile, insists it owns the iPad name and has accused Proview of failing to honor its agreement.