A trademark dispute currently ongoing between Apple and Proview Technology recently saw the iPad banned in one Chinese city, but things could be about to get a whole lot worse. A lawyer for Proview, which claims to own the rights of the “iPad” name in China, is seeking a ban on iPad shipments into and out of China.
Not only would that mean that Chinese customers cannot get their hands on the device, but the rest of the world would be without the iPad, too.
Proview successfully won a court battle against Apple in southern China late last year, and is currently looking for $38 million in compensation. Furthermore, the company is petitioning Chinese customs to stop shipments of Apple’s iPad, its lawyer Xie Xianghui told Asian Legal Business.
If the company’s bid is successful, Apple’s iPad — which is assembled in China — would not be allowed to leave the country, and we wouldn’t be able to purchase it.
Apple bought the iPad trademark from Proview back in 2006 for around $55,000, but Proview claims it did not sell the rights to the name in China. However, as you’d expect, Apple won’t back down. Bloomberg reports:
Apple said it had bought the worldwide rights to the trademark long ago.
“We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,” an Apple spokeswoman said.
While it may seem unlikely, it’s possible that Proview could delay the launch of Apple’s iPad 3 if Chinese customs comply with its demands. But we’re confident that’s not going to happen.