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Proview Seeking to Cut Off Apple's Worldwide Supply of iPads

Earlier this week, we noted that Chinese authorities had begun seizing iPad stocks from a small number of retailers over Apple's alleged infringement of a disputed "iPad" trademark. Apple claims that it purchased the Chinese rights to the trademark several years ago, but the original owner Proview and Chinese courts have disagreed with that assertion.


Bloomberg now notes that Proview is seeking to go beyond local enforcement and is asking Chinese customs officials to block both imports and exports of the iPad over the issue. With iPad production taking place in China, a successful bid by Proview could cut off Apple's supplies of the device throughout the world.
“We are applying to customs to stop any trademark- infringing products from imports to China and also for exports,” said [Proview lawyer Roger] Xie, who is based in Shenzhen. “Apple wants to postpone and continue infringement of the iPad in China.”
Calling a potential export ban "catastrophic" for Apple, one Chinese legal expert notes that pressure on Apple to settle the case has dramatically increased.
A halt to exports from China would be “catastrophic” for Apple because it would mean a global halt to iPad sales, said Stan Abrams, an intellectual property lawyer and a law professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. The threat of an export ban increases the pressure on Apple to settle the case, he said.

“There’s got to be a settlement, and fairly soon,” Abrams said. “I can’t see how much more incentivized to settle Apple could be.”
Apple continues to maintain that it acquired "worldwide" rights to the iPad in ten countries, including China, as part of an earlier deal. Apple's case is still pending with Chinese courts as it seeks to appeal earlier rulings.

Related roundup: iPad Air

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
Leave China and start new plants in Brazil. Let China burn.
Rating: 60 Votes
33 months ago
This is a double-edged sword for China. If Apple is forced to halt iPad exports and/or pay an extortionate amount to Proview Shenzhen, it will deter other companies from locating plants there, and may prompt Apple and Foxconn to shift more production to Brazil when that plant is up and running. China is starting to get to the point where it is no longer the cheapest place to build things.

Proview is using a customs rule that is most commonly used to block exports of counterfeits. The FT has a good summary of what is going on.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/b21c9c64-570a-11e1-be25-00144feabdc0.html
Rating: 36 Votes
33 months ago

Look beyond this issue to what Apple COULD do if they wanted:

"Attention world. You won't get your iPad3, nor ANY Apple product made in China until this case is settled. As of today, ALL shipments of ALL Apple products from China are being suspended by us. We are asking for all Apple customers to boycott ANYTHING made in China until this issue is resolved. We have the money to wait this out, and you have the power to bring China effectively to it's knees in a few days."

Game. Set. Match.



The delusion in this forum is sometimes quite scary.
Rating: 36 Votes
33 months ago
"...in other news, Apple buys Proview, continues to ship iPads."
Rating: 34 Votes
33 months ago
Wasn't there a new facility being built in Brazil? Maybe Apple has to learn it the hard way - as many European and American companies before - that China is still a bribery dictatorship and you have to have a backup plan in order to be not the push-around. Outsourcing from China might be the way and Brazil might be the new answer?
Rating: 25 Votes
33 months ago
There is always a 3rd option:

Just engrave the iPads in a different country. Ship them without the engraving and no device infringes any name right. Then, maybe just over the water in Taiwan, you engrave the back ot the iPads. Done. :cool:
Rating: 23 Votes
33 months ago
So, Apple exports jobs outside the US/EU which are their main markets, so they can pay slave wages and work conditions and now there is a threat that these strategies backfire.

Are we supposed to feel sorry for Apple or something? :confused:
Rating: 22 Votes
33 months ago
Another reason to manufacture in the USA. Yes, I know and understand the arguments, but $80+ Billion goes along way to making it happen.
Rating: 22 Votes
33 months ago
With the iPad 3 press conference coming up this could get very interesting.
Rating: 22 Votes
33 months ago
This is almost a no-brainer. Apple has a lot of money invested in China, and is strengthening their economy. Unless they have a masochistic wish to shoot themselves in the foot, they'll shoo Proview away like a buzzing gnat.
Rating: 18 Votes

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