by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Feb 14, 2012
An electronics firm said Tuesday it would ask customs in China to block iPad imports after it won a copyright case against Apple, prompting one city to pull some of the tablet computers from shops.
Proview Technology (Shenzhen) says it owns the Chinese rights for the name "iPad" but Apple -- claiming trademark infringement -- last year took the firm to a Chinese court, which unexpectedly rejected the case over lack of evidence.
"We are preparing requests to customs for blocking iPad imports," Xie Xianghui, the firm's lawyer, told AFP.
"It is still in the process of preparation," he said, adding the requests would be made to local customs offices and not the national-level customs administration as part of a strategic, localised approach.
Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is owned by a Taiwan-invested company that registered the trademark name "iPad" in several countries including China as early as 2000 -- years before Apple began selling the product.
The US giant subsequently bought the rights for the global trademark, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) claims it retained the Chinese rights.
Apple has repeatedly declined to comment on the case. The company could not immediately be reached on Tuesday.
Xie said the firm had lodged complaints in more than 10 cities across China after Apple lost the case in December, but only one -- Shijiazhuang in the northern province of Hebei -- had acted so far.
According to the official Global Times newspaper, at least 45 iPads have been seized in one district there since last Thursday.
Officials at the city's industrial and commercial bureau confirmed to AFP that authorities had confiscated some iPads, but refused to comment on specific numbers.
However, the iPad -- which was officially launched in mainland China in September 2010 -- remains on sale across the nation's five Apple stores, electronics retailers and through on-line shopping sites.
The craze for all things Apple in China has triggered widespread cloning of iPhones and iPads over the years.
In July, an American blogger uncovered fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming, and police in Shanghai arrested five people in September for making counterfeit iPhones.
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