China seizes iPads in Apple trademark dispute

Chinese authorities have seized Apple's iPad tablets from retailers in the Xinhua province over a dispute with a Chinese company which owns the iPad trademark in the country.

Chinese authorities have seized Apple's iPad tablets from retailers in the Xinhua province over a dispute with a Chinese company which owns the iPad trademark in the country.

 
Shenzhen Proview Technology registered the trademark for the iPad in China in 2000, ten years before Apple released the lucrative tablet computer. Apple lost a lawsuit against the company in December when it tried to claim that Shenzhen Proview was infringing its trademark.
 
An affiliate of Shenzhen Proview, Proview Taipei, sold the trademark to the iPad name for a measly £35,000 in 2009, a year before the first iPad launched, but the Intermediate People's Court ruled that the Shenzhen company was not bound by this agreement.
 
Now it looks like the Chinese firm is getting its own back against Apple. It filed a complaint with China's economic investigation unit and investigators have begun seizing iPads from stores in Shijiazhuang in Xinhua, taking them off shop shelves and from storage.
 
 China seizes iPads in Apple trademark dispute
 
The investigators would not reveal the scale of the seizures, but it could prove disastrous for Apple, particularly given how large the Chinese market is. Apple has five stores in mainland China, but there are numerous resellers which are authorised to sell its devices. 
 
If it is forced to pull the iPad from the country it could lose a lot of money, and changing the name of it will be a less than ideal situation given the company's image. It could perhaps opt for something like the iTablet, but this might cause confusion and hinder sales.
 
This is only the beginning of action taken against Apple. Shenzhen Proview is planning to ask for similar seizures in more than 20 other cities throughout China, and it is also intending to seek financial compensation through another channel.