Proview Seeks iPad Export Ban In China, Could Choke Off Worldwide Supply

Brad Chacos

Apple's been harassing Samsung (and others) around the globe, using legislation and intellectual property nuances to suffocate competitive sales and yank Galaxy Tabs off store shelves. Now it's Apple's turn. After a Chinese court ruled that Apple has no right to use the "iPad" name in mainland China because a company called Proview Technology (Shenzhen) holds the trademark, Proview announced they were suing Apple for $1.6 billion in damages. Now, Proview wants a complete iPad import/export ban -- and since all iPads are manufactured in China, an export ban could choke off worldwide supply for the mega-popular tablet.

Yesterday, the Verge reported that government officials began confiscating iPads from stores in Shijiazhuang, the capital of the Heibei province. Today, Proview told the Associated Press that it is seeking similar actions in 30 additional cities, as well as the aforementioned ban on exports and imports.

"We are now working on a request to China Customs to ban and seize all the import and export of the iPad products that have violated the trademark," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for the company.

Funnily enough, the MPAA/RIAA's plight against overseas pirates is helping Proview try to strangle to iPad sales. The laws that allow Proview to ask for the iPad ban were originally enacted to stop Chinese counterfeiters from shipping trademark-infringing items to other countries. Of course, since Apple is sitting on $97.6 billion in cold, hard cash, we're guessing the company would just peel off a few bills for Proview before it let the supply of iPads grind to a halt.

Still, we have to ask: now that you've had a taste, does your litigious medicine taste bitter, Apple?

(For more information about the complicated trademark battle between Apple and Proview, read our coverage of the Chinese judge's ruling back in December .)

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