Fri, February 24, 2012
Technology > Technology > iPad trademark dispute heats up in China

iPads pulled from shelves in more Chinese cities

2012-02-14 10:57:29 GMT2012-02-14 18:57:29(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The impact of a legal dispute over the use of the name "iPad" has spread to more Chinese cities, prompting stores to remove the popular Apple tablet computers from shelves on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. company has held its own in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai, where trademark authorities said they have kept a close watch on the issue.

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 invoke 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.

iPads were also removed from shelves in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan province, after a district administration raided an authorized Apple retailer and sealed 87 of the store's iPad stock, preventing the store from selling the computer tablets.

iPad vendor accounts also disappeared from amazon.cn and 360buy, two popular online B2C platforms in China, on Tuesday.

But authorities in other cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, said they were still looking into the case and would not take action until the investigation concludes.

In Apple's official store in Beijing's Xidan shopping district, business bustled as usual, and most customers were unaware of the ongoing legal issue.

"Apple is still Apple with or without a different trademark, I will buy its products nevertheless," said a customer surnamed Liu.

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