A country-wide import and export ban on Apple’s iPad that ProView is pushing for over an ongoing litigation with the iPad moniker will not be easy to implement, or at least that is what Chinese customs officials told Reuters this morning. Chinese company ProView owns the “iPad” trademark and is petitioning Chinese customs to stop shipments of iPads in and out of the country.
Foxconn manufactures the iPads in Shenzhen, China, and such a ban would disrupt global iPad supply. Another result of the legal battle over the iPad name: At Apple’s request, online shopping websites Amazon China and Suning reportedly removed the iPad until the trademark dispute is resolved. Proview is hoping to extract an estimated $1.5 billion from Apple for the rights to use the iPad moniker in China.
The plan reportedly is not working as expected, because local customs think implementing a country-wide ban on such a successful and globally popular product would be impractical, to say the least. Moreover, customs authorities are unlikely to intervene in the trademark battle, or so the story has it. For its part, Proview insists it started developing a tablet called the iPad in 2000. The company’s boss Yang Long-san confirmed the latest development to the news gathering organization:
The customs have told us that it will be difficult to implement a ban because many Chinese consumers love Apple products. The sheer size of the market is very big. We have applied to some local customs for the ban and they’ll report to the headquarters in Beijing.
Proview first accused Apple of trademark infringement nearly four months ago, and it threatened to sue the company for damages in both the United States and China. Chinese Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Proview is the rightful owner of the “iPad” moniker. Therefore, the company attempted to block iPad sales by suing resellers in Southern China and by threatening to go after other Apple resellers throughout China to push Apple into an expensive out-of-court settlement. Proview Technology is a subsidy of the once famous monitor-maker Proview International Holdings. The firm is said to be debt-laden, so many see the aggressive play against Apple as a last-ditch effort to save the troubled company from bankruptcy. According to Reuters correspondents who visited Proview’s manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China, “The building has largely been abandoned, with its windows shattered and debris strewn liberally.”