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Apple's iPad could be banned from Export in China


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animal_farm-pigsApple has been playing a dangerous game for some time now. They have been filing ambiguous patents and copyrights in the hopes that they can protect their mobile devices. For the most part this strategy was working just fine for Apple until a few Judges began to notice a pattern of suppression in their efforts. That was a turning point in Apple legal battles against companies like Samsung, HTC and others in the Android family. Now, however, Apple is facing something they never expected; a smaller corporation is fighting for the copyright they already have on the iPad.

If you remember back when Apple first brought out the iPhone they ignored an existing trademark on that name. Unfortunately so did the company that owned the trademark. They had let the trademark expire and were refused renewal after the fact (It is also rumored that Apple helped that decision along).

The same thing has happened with the iPad name. Apple basically ignored the fact that a small company by the name of Proview owns the name iPad through one of its business units. Apple (perhaps in their arrogance) either forgot this or decided to ignore the fact altogether. Now Proview is asking for a complete import AND export ban on the any products infringing on their trademark.

According to a Proview attorney, Roger Xie, they have not been able to reach an agreement with Apple over the use of the trademarked name and as such they are seeking sanctions.

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

Back in 2010 Apple attempted to sue Proview for ownership of the iPad trademark, but lost that case in the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court on November 17th. Apple did file for an appeal, but that has not be resolved. This means that ownership of the trademark is undetermined in the very country where the device is being made. An import/export ban right now would have a serious impact on Apple global sales and would effectively prevent Apple from launching the iPad 3 in March unless a settlement is reached.

Proview has already filed complaints in some 20 regions which have resulted in iPad seizures from local stores. These stores have begun hiding the iPads until customers ask for them (Apple hated it when Samsung did that in Australia through online stores) to prevent their inventory from being seized.

In the end Apple will have to settle this case with Proview. Right now, Proview has the upper hand in the fight as they are getting the local and national governments to side with them. We will be watching this newest chapter in Apple’s life cycle with interest as it represents a whole new twist on the way the company is used to having the legal system work for them, but then again… it really was only a matter of time before Apple was on the receiving end…

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Last modified on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 08:06

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