China may ban Apple from importing or exporting iPads, under counterfeit laws

Apple risks being banned from importing or exporting iPads from China due to an intellectual property battle with Chinese company Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd.

Proview claims that when Apple purchased the rights to the name “iPad” in 10 countries from one of its subsidiaries, it didn’t purchase the rights for mainland China.

The situation has been complicated by a Shenzhen court ruling late last year that Proview continues to own the iPad trademark in China. Apple is appealing the ruling in the Guangdong High Court on February 29.

The latest reports suggest that Proview is filing lawsuits against retailers selling iPads in Huizhou and Futian District, on the grounds of copyright infringement.

An iPad import and export ban would be highly damaging to Apple, given the Chinese market contributes $US13 billion in revenue a year to their bottom line, and because the company outsources its manufacturing to Foxconn in southern China. The case highlights some of the risks faced by western companies doing business in China.

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