Media reports indicate that Chinese authorities in some cities have ordered retailers to stop selling Apple’s tablet.
This dispute stems from the fact that ProView, which manufacturers LCD screens, owns the rights to the name “iPad” and sells a number of devices with that brand name. Apple, however, claims that it bought worldwide rights to the “iPad” trademark years ago.
“We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.
If successful, this ban would cripple Apple’s iPad supply chain as the company famously manufacturers its devices in China.
Apple has previously lost a trademark related case to ProView in China late last year when a court ruled ProView owned the iPad trademark. Apple appealed this case, and is due back in court on Feb 29 if the two parties don’t settle before.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Proview executive Yang Rongshan said that the company had been negotiating with Apple but could not elaborate on any details as it was a commercial secret.
“We have to admit that Apple’s iPad is a great product, and Apple creates great value out of that,” Mr. Yang told the Wall Street Journal. “But this is not the reason to support their irregular practice here.”
Mr. Yang adamantly stressed to the Wall Street Journal that his company was not engaging in any kind of patent or trademark tolling.
“We are doing everything completely under the laws and rules, if people understand the whole process of this matter. There has been so much misunderstanding about us, but we would continue to sue until we win what we deserve.”