Proview Technology Seeking Export Ban on Apple IPads from China
The dispute in China over the ownership of the iPad trademark could become more serious, as the Chinese company, Proview Technology is seeking an export ban on Apple iPads until the dispute is resolved.
While Apple has faced attempts to secure import bans in various countries as part of the ongoing tit-for-tat patent wars, and export ban would knock out almost the entire supply chain as the majority of iPads are made in the country.
Proview Technology has been suing Apple over the trademark, which Apple claims it bought from an affiliated company, and which Proview Technology claims to still own.
"We plan to file the complaints to customs by the end of this month and ask for an embargo on the import and export of the iPad," Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview Technology Shenzhen told the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua News. "We are asking for the ban especially for the iPad 3."
Retailers across the country have started removing iPads from sale fearing seizure by the authorities - who might be rather slow at returning such items if Apple wins its trademark dispute.
Xie rebutted a popular criticism that Proview Shenzhen, a company on the verge of bankruptcy that has not produced any iPad products, is exploiting Apple.
"Assume we have a house. If we don't live in it, should we give it away or sell it?" he said.
Proview Shenzhen, which operates with a debt of about RMB1.15 billion (US$182 million), demanded RMB10 billion in compensation over the lawsuit against Apple.
Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Proview International Holdings, which also has a branch in Taiwan.
Proview Taipei registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000, and Proview Shenzhen registered the trademark on the Chinese mainland in 2001.
Apple bought the rights to use the trademark from Proview Taipei in February 2010 via a UK company. However, Proview Shenzhen claims it still reserves the right to use the trademark on the Chinese mainland. The two sides have been tangled in a legal battle ever since.
On the web: Xinhua News