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iPad trademark dispute heats up, provokes debate


17:12, February 15, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The impact of a legal dispute over the use of the trademark "iPad" has spread to more Chinese cities, prompting stores to remove the popular Apple tablet computers from shelves as of Tuesday and kicked off a new round of heated online discussion.

Apple plunged into a legal dilemma after losing a court case to Proview Shenzhen, which claimed the rights to use the name "iPad" on the Chinese mainland, in December 2011, leaving iPad sales in the company's fastest-growing market up in the air.

Although Apple launched an appeal and the final verdict has yet to be decided, authorities in some Chinese cities have taken action to seize iPad products after receiving complaints from Proview Shenzhen.

In Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei province, stores have stopped selling iPads and torn down advertisements, fearing their presence may provoke penalties from local authorities.

The withdrawal came after the Administration for Industry and Commerce in the city's Xinhua district raided stores and confiscated iPad products, according to sales staff in Shijiazhuang.

"They [the administration] seized several iPad 2s and took away our account book, and now we only dare sell iPads covertly," Jiao, a sales consultant at an authorized Apple retailer, told Xinhua, preferring to give only her surname.

The administration has declined to comment on the raid, but said an investigation was underway.

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