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.

ipad 2 china
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.

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Top Rated Comments

tonkaxxtuph Avatar
160 months ago
Leave!

Leave China and start new plants in Brazil. Let China burn.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Picka Avatar
160 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.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KPOM Avatar
160 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
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gav2k Avatar
160 months ago
China cutting of its own balls? I don't think so!
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joshwawilson Avatar
160 months ago
I'd like to see apple move out of china altogether and come back to the US. I know it's not going to happen, but they are helping create a world super power over there.

(Don't hate if Im totally wrong about that :p )
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mad-B-One Avatar
160 months ago
Brazil?

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?
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)