Chinese Authorities and Retailers Removing iPads from Sale Over Trademark Issues?

Last week, we offered an update on the ongoing trademark dispute in China between Apple and Proview Technology, which claims to have held ownership of the "iPad" trademark there since 2000. Apple is said to be facing a potential fine of approximately $38 million from the government while Proview is seeking as much as $1.6 billion in damages.

chinese authorities seized ipads
Chinese authorities examining seized iPads

According to new reports from DigiCha (via The Next Web) and China.com.cn [Google translation] , authorities have begun taken steps related to the trademark issue, confiscating iPads discovered in retailers' shops while other retailers move proactively to remove the devices from display in order to prevent their stocks from being seized. DigiCha reports:

Apparently as a result of the Proview iPad trademark infringement verdict, some local Administrations of Industry and Commerce (AIC) have started to confiscate Apple ($AAPL) iPads they find on sale. The article claims that many stores and resellers have taken the products off their shelves to avoid discovery by authorities, but if you ask for an iPad you can still buy one.

China.com.cn notes that as of 5:00 PM yesterday authorities had seized 45 iPad 2 units from retailers, but it remains unclear whether the actions are part of an nationwide effort or if local authorities are acting on their own initiative to address the issue.

Apple believed that it had acquired the rights to the iPad trademark in China in an earlier $55,000 deal with Proview's parent company that also included European rights. But Proview's Chinese arm has argued that the Chinese rights could not have been part of the deal because those rights were not controlled by the parent company.

Apple lost a lawsuit challenging Proview's claim on the trademark late last year, and Proview is continuing to press its infringement case against Apple.

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Top Rated Comments

iMikeT Avatar
160 months ago
The Chinese government cracking down on Apple for trademark infringement? Please. When did the Chinese government start respecting copyrights/trademarks/patents as China is full of bootleg products?

How much will China lose in economic activity if Apple left the country?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alphaod Avatar
160 months ago
Sounds more like some local government is using the opportunity to take iPads for their own use. I wouldn't be surprised.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JayLenochiniMac Avatar
160 months ago

How much will China lose in economic activity if Apple left the country?

Unfortunately, I think Apple needs China more than China needs Apple.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kuato Avatar
160 months ago
sounds like a good old fashion shake down to me
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlterZgo Avatar
160 months ago
The Chinese government cracking down on Apple for trademark infringement? Please. When did the Chinese government start respecting copyrights/trademarks/patents as China is full of bootleg products?

How much will China lose in economic activity if Apple left the country?

Exactly. This is so flippin' lame. China is, without a doubt, the single largest nation of copyright, trademark, and content counterfeiters in the world. They don't realize a stable and growing capitalistic society is based on strong property rights. When property rights are arbitrarily enforced or ignored, it really cuts back on people wanting to invest in that country.

Foxconn is moving production to Brazil. If this type of crap continues in China, companies will stop manufacturing and/or doing business in China. It don't matter how lucrative the Chinese market is if they can arbitrarily pull this kind of crap on you. It's like Venezuela. Anybody left out there who wants to invest in Venezuela where your business could be nationalized on a whim? I think not.

There are many other emerging economies and markets like Brazil, India, Eastern Europe, etc.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robecq Avatar
160 months ago




Communists.

Actually China is behaving more and more like a corporation....
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)