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iPad Trademark In China May Cost Apple Millions

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Apple's hold has spread across the world, but its reach seems to have hit a roadblock in China, where a protracted conflict continues.

LCD manufacturer Proview Technology (Shenzen), which is based in the southern city of Shenzen, China, and is a subsidiary of Hong Kong's Proview International Holdings, Ltd., is suing Apple in a Beijing court over the rights to the "iPad" name within mainland China's borders. Proview's Shenzen arm seeks $38 million in compensation for damages, as well as an apology from Apple for the purported trademark infringement, according to Apple Insider.

Proview International originally registered the iPad trademark in 2001, but the rights to the name switched hands from Proview to Apple in 2006 for $55,000. However, Proview (Shenzhen) lawyer Xie Xianghui told China Daily that Proview International's Taiwan subsidiary Proview Electronics sold the "iPad" trademark to a UK-based company, IP Application Development, which, in turn, sold the rights to Apple. The Shenzen company does not recognize Apple's ownership of the iPad name within China and currently sells several products branded with the "iPad" name.

"We ask the court to stop selling and marketing for Apple's iPad in China," said Xie, as reported by Fox Business.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal sat down with Proview (Shenzen) Chairman Yang Rongshan, who spoke highly of Apple's iPad, despite the ongoing litigation.

"We have to admit that Apple's iPad is a great product, and Apple creates great value out of that," Yang told the Journal. "But this is not the reason to support their irregular practice here."

This latest flare follows in the wake of Apple's recently rejected suit against Proview Technology (Shenzhen) for trademark infringement and Proview's stalled legal action against Apple for 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), which Apple is currently appealing.

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