Proview Technology (Shenzen, China), claims it owns the iPad trademark and is planning on seeking a ban on exports of Apple’s computer tablets from China. If successful, the move could deal a blow to the U.S. tech giant’s iPad sales worldwide. Not only is China a huge consumer market, but it is a major production base for the U.S. company’s products including the iPad, iPhone and iPod.
The Chinese firm is petitioning Chinese customs to stop shipments of the popular tablet computers in and out of China, although customs have not yet responded to the request. The legal row with Proview Technology is the latest headache for Apple in a booming market.
Last year, Apple lost a case against the same company in Shenzen when a court agreed that Proview owned the iPad trademark. It has appealed that decision and a final hearing is due to start in Guangdong High Court on February 29, 2012. That court’s decision will be final under the Chinese legal process. It comes a day after reports claimed that authorities in some Chinese cities had ordered retailers to stop selling iPads due to the dispute.
Apple claims it had bought the worldwide rights to the trademark long ago. A spokesman said: “We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in ten different countries several years ago. ‘Proview refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter”.
Of late, we have seen lot of cases filed against established vendors for patent infringement by their competitors or unknown entities who may have registered the patent in their respective countries for a name. Every country has its own legal process system and it is not possible for established vendors to take permission from each and every country to sell its wares. Normally, it is seen that patent infringement cases are filed once the product is established worldwide and the petitioner expect handsome remuneration for settlement. Where was Chinese firm – Proview Technology – when Apple launched its iPads? Were they sleeping at that time or waiting for the opportune time to strike gold? Latter was the case and hence this case now.
There should be strict patent infringement law in force applicable to all the countries that if any entity has objection to any patent then they should file their objections within 6 to 8 months from the date of launch of the product by the accused vendor. Apple has invested a lot on iPads and make it one of the most successful device in the world and it will be unfair to them to disallow them to curtail their operations in China, from where they are sourcing their iPad also.
Moreover, they are on the verge of unveiling their iPad 3 in the first week of March and any adverse ruling against them will jeopardize their plans for new launch and effect their supplies worldwide. On the contrary, such types of late infringement cases should be time-barred and petitioners should be fined heavily for causing harm to normal business of a company.