Apple Faces Fight in China as Proview Asks Retailers to Stop Selling IPads
Bloomberg - Feb 17th 2012, 13:42
Proview International Holdings Ltd. (334), which claims ownership of the iPad trademark in China, asked retailers to stop selling Apple Inc. (AAPL)â€™s tablet computer as the dispute between the two companies intensified.
Some retailers halted iPad sales after Proview submitted complaints, Roger Xie, a lawyer representing Hong Kong-traded Proview, said by phone yesterday, declining to identify them. Separately, Internet shopping sites including Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)â€™s Amazon.cn and 360Buy.com no longer displayed iPads or quoted prices for the product.
Proview, a maker of computer displays, said this week it asked Chinaâ€™s customs bureau to block imports and exports of the iPad after winning a local court decision against Cupertino, California-based Apple over the trademark. Apple quadrupled revenue in China last year after adding stores and expanding online distribution of its products.
Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman at Apple, declined to comment beyond a statement earlier this week that Apple acquired Proviewâ€™s rights to the iPad trademark in 10 countries, including China.
June Jin, a Beijing-based spokeswoman at Amazon, said the unavailability of iPads on the companyâ€™s website isnâ€™t related to the trademark dispute. She didnâ€™t elaborate. Calls to the general lines of 360Buy.com in Beijing werenâ€™t answered.
Xie, a partner at Grandall Law Firm in Shenzhen, said the customs bureau has not replied to Proviewâ€™s requests. Tao Yong, a spokesman at the General Administration of Customs, said he couldnâ€™t immediately comment.
Apple asked Amazon to remove the iPad 2 from its Chinese division because the local site wasnâ€™t authorized to sell the device, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing people it didnâ€™t identify. The action was unrelated to the trademark dispute, according to the report.
Apple sued Proviewâ€™s Shenzhen-based unit in 2010, claiming ownership of the iPad trademark in China. The Shenzhen Intermediate Peopleâ€™s Court rejected Appleâ€™s claims on Nov. 17, Proview said in a Dec. 15 regulatory filing. Apple appealed that ruling to the Higher Peopleâ€™s Court of Guangdong province on Jan. 5, Proview said in a Jan. 27 filing.
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