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Trademark dispute could block sales of new iPad

By He Wei in Shanghai (China Daily)

14:16, March 08, 2012

Complaint will not derail upcoming release of anticipated tablet: Apple

If a trademark dispute between Apple Inc and a Shenzhen-based company does not reach a conclusion soon, Chinese shoppers may not be able to buy the next version of the technology giant's iPad tablet on the mainland.

At a news conference that Apple called for Wednesday morning in the United States, it is widely believed that the company will introduce the third version of its popular iPad. Proview Technology Shenzhen Co Ltd, which says it owns the rights to the iPad trademark on the mainland, has called on Chinese customs authorities to prohibit exports and imports of the device.

Since February, Proview Shenzhen has filed complaints to various customs authorities alleging that Apple has violated its trademark. The company has also asked for an embargo on imports and exports of the iPad, said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing the company.

"We are fully prepared," Xie said. "This petition is specifically targeted at the iPad 3."

He said customs authorities have given the company no formal replies so far. He said he has sought to have Proview Shenzhen's request accepted sooner.

Feathers have flown since US media began reporting that Apple plans to not let the trademark dispute in China derail its schedule for releasing products and that the new iPad is due to be introduced in early March.

The rumor mill has picked up pace, churning out speculation that the device will have faster internal components, a higher-resolution screen and settings enabling the device to connect to fourth-generation networks, which are still being established in many parts of the world.

While the new iPad has yet to make its debut, the trademark dispute in China has cast a shadow over the product's sales prospects in the country, which is the fastest-growing market for Apple.

Proview Shenzhen registered its iPad trademark in China in 2001, according to the official website of China's trademark authority. That was nine years before Apple introduced its iPad series of products.

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