updated 05:30 am EST, Wed February 15, 2012
Chinese customs say iPad is too popular to ban
Proview Technology has said that Chinese customs authorities have told them a ban on the import and export of Apple’s iPad would be difficult to enforce, according to Reuters. The Hong-Kong based company is currently locked in a dispute with Apple over its use of the iPad name, which Apple believes it legitimately purchased from the Proview and trademarked in China and nine other countries. Customs authorities in China have said that any attempt to ban the iPad from China would meet opposition because of its popularity.
‘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,’ said Yang Long-san, chief of Proview Technology. ‘We have applied to some local customs for the ban and they'll report to the headquarters in Beijing.’
If Proview was able to secure a ban on the export of the iPad from China, where the devices are also produced for the most part, it could effectively cripple Apple’s iPad sales around the globe. Proview argue that Apple may have purchased the rights to its iPad name, however, in their view, this did not include the use of the name on a product for sale in China. Proview has made a claim for $1.6 billion in damages and has been successful in getting officials from the city of Shijiazhuang to confiscate iPads from sale at one unnamed Apple reseller.
One Beijing IP and IT lawyer, Stan Abrams, is of the view that Proview has a strong claim on the use of the name in China as it remains the legal owner of the trademark in the country. While Apple is highly unlikely to pay anything near the amount that Proview is asking, it may seek to settle the matter out of court so that there is no interruption to either the sale of iPads in the booming Chinese electronics market, or their export from China for sale around the globe.