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iPad taken off shelves as investigation launched nationwide

By Liu Linlin (Global Times)

08:28, February 14, 2012

Photo from Global Times

Apple's flagship tablet has been pulled off shelves in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, and "investigations are underway nationwide" over allegations that the IT giant has infringed the iPad trademark owned by a Shenzhen-based company.

"As far as I know, all stores selling authentic iPads have removed the products from their shelves. The tablet is still very popular, but now we only sell to customers who ordered from us beforehand," Zhang Shiyu, a dealer with Xianyu Digital Company in Shijiazhuang, told the Global Times.

The Hebei Youth Daily reported Saturday that officers from the Xinhua District Administration for Industry and Commerce in Shijiazhuang launched a two-day investigation Thursday and seized 45 iPad 2's from stores in the district, as well as their sales records.

The officers provided dealers with paperwork accusing Apple of infringing on the iPad brand owned by Proview Technology (Shenzhen), a subsidiary loosely affiliated with the Taipei-based Proview International Holdings Ltd, according to the report.

Local authorities declined to say whether these stores will face large fines, the newspaper said.

Proview, a maker of computer displays, registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries as early as 2000, long before Apple unveiled its groundbreaking tablet in 2010. The company's Shenzhen unit registered the trademark in the mainland in 2001, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

In 2009, the Hong Kong-listed company sold the trademark to Apple at a price of 35,000 pounds ($55,261), but it claims that the deal did not include ownership of the brand in the mainland held by its Shenzhen unit.

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