Chinese city seizes Apple iPads

Chinese city seizes Apple iPads

BEIJING - The Associated Press
Chinese city seizes Apple iPads

Customers learn to use the iPad 2 inside an Apple store in Beijing.

Authorities have seized Apple iPads from retailers in a city in northern China due to a dispute with a domestic company that says it owns the iPad name, an official said yesterday. The Chinese company said it is asking for similar action in more than 20 other cities.

The dispute with Shenzhen Proview Technology threatens to complicate Apple’s efforts to sell its popular tablet computer in China, its fastest-growing market.

Investigators started seizing iPads last week in Shijiazhuang, southwest of Beijing, after receiving letters from Shenzhen Proview, said an official of the investigation unit of the city’s Xinhua district. He would give only his surname, Wang. “All the Apple iPads in the big shopping malls and supermarkets have been taken off shelves in Xinhua district,” said Wang. He wouldn’t say how many devices had been seized. An Apple Inc. spokeswoman in Beijing, Carolyn Wu, declined to comment.

California-based Apple has five stores in mainland China -two in Beijing and three in Shanghai- and authorized resellers in other cities. Phone calls to the Beijing and Shanghai commercial bureaus, which enforce trademarks, were not answered.

Shenzhen Proview registered the iPad name in China in 2001. Apple bought rights to the name from a Taiwan affiliate, Proview Taipei, that registered it in various countries as early as 2000. The mainland company says it still owns the name in China.

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