The Economic Times of India, Penn Olson, Ifeng.com, DigiCha and China.com.cn are all reporting that Chinese authorities in Shijiazhuang are confiscating iPads because of an ongoing Proview trademark litigation. Proview, you will recall, is suing Apple over its I-PAD trademark and hopes to receive up to $1.5 billion for the name.
As Penn Olson pointed out, the confiscations are in one city and so far just on third-party retailers. However, the action forced other retailers to take iPads off the shelves, though they can still be purchased if asked for. However, this latest action might be a sign of things to come…
Beijing-based Tech/IP lawyer Stan Abrams, who predicted this a week ago, has lots of interesting things to mention about the case. Specifically, Apple is in a bad place, because the trademark is pretty clear. Apple did not do its homework when buying the ‘iPad’ trademark from Proview in 2006 and did not get the rights to China that the company assumed it was getting.
Proview agreed to sell the global iPad trademark in 2006 to United States-based IP Application Development for £35,000 ($55,104 USD), at which time Proview did not know had connections to Apple. The Chinese trademarks, filed as far back as 2000, were apparently not included in that agreement, leading Apple and IP Application Development to sue Proview.
Proview Chairman Yang Rongshan said the following about the case in October:
It is arrogant of Apple to just ignore our rights and go ahead selling the iPad in this market, and we will oppose that,” Mr Yang said. “Besides that, we are in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset that could help us sort out part of that trouble.
- A court decision today indicates that Apple may not own the iPad name in China (9to5mac.com)
- Proview sues retailers in Southern China seeking ban on iPad sales (9to5mac.com)