Apple in lawsuit over iPad trademark infringement

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Apple Inc. is facing a possible fine of 240 million yuan (US$38 million) over iPad trademark infringement in China. [File photo]

Apple Inc. is facing a possible fine of 240 million yuan (US$38 million) over iPad trademark infringement in China. [File photo]

Technology giant Apple Inc. could face a fine of 240 million yuan (US$38 million) by Beijing market administrative authorities on its trademark infringement of iPad.

Chinese company Proview Technology Shenzhen has filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing it infringing on its iPad trademark. The Pudong district court will hear the case on February 22, said a lawyer representing Proview Shenzhen.

The Beijing Xicheng District market administrative authority has also launched an investigation against the trademark infringement case and has reportedly decided on a fine of 240 million yuan ($38 million) against Apple.

Proview Shenzhen also took two authorized Apple resellers for iPad - Gome Electrical Appliances and the Sundan Electronic Store - to courts in Guangdong province over similar infringements.

"We are asking the court to order Apple to stop selling and marketing the iPad in China. We also demand an apology," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing the Chinese company.

No financial compensation has yet been demanded by Proview.

Proview Shenzhen registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001.Proview Taiwan, a company that is associated with, but not legally representing Proview Shenzhen, sold the Chinese trademark - along with others for use in other countries - to the UK-based IP Application Development Limited for 35,000 British pounds (US$55,000) in 2009, according to a report by Nanfang Daily.

The British company then resold the brand to Apple for 10 pounds before Apple's launch of iPad in 2010, the report said.

Apple applied to Chinese mainland authorities to transfer the trademark from Proview Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland in 2010, which was before the official launch of iPad. However, the application was turned down by China's trademark administrative authorities, the report said.

Apple then sued Proview Shenzhen in 2011 to gain legal entitlement as exclusive user of the iPad trademark - but lost the lawsuit in a Guangdong court. Apple later appealed to the higher court in Guangdong province. The appeal was accepted and verdicts are still pending.

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