China loves Apple. This can be seen in the success of the App Store despite only having had one of their own for a little over a year. People were even being injured in the rush to get their iPads and iPhones before Apple stepped in to make the selling of devices a little safer.
But Shenzhen-based Proview Technology isn’t among those in love with the brand. With their having claimed the rights to the iPad name, it has been left up to the courts to decide whether there is an intellectual property rights violation. The hearing is set to take place in Pudong district court in Shanghai later this month which will cost Apple 240 million yuan ($38 million) if they lose.
Even beyond those reparations, Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview Technology Shenzhen, wants Apple to be banned from selling iPad devices in China (along with an apology). The court will be able to decide on the sales ban but it would be a real miracle if they manage to get Apple to actually apologize for something –the company is not well known for that kind of thing.
Apple did try to sue Proview Technology Shenzhen in 2011 in an effort to gain the right to the iPad name, which is a case that they lose in court.
Proview chairman Yang Rongshan issued a statement, indicating:
“It is arrogant of Apple to just ignore our rights and go ahead selling the iPad in this market, and we will oppose that,” Yang said. “Besides that, we are in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset that could help us sort out part of that trouble.”
Apple is expected to lose this case, but they have made no mention of what they will do in that event. With a penalty that will mean a little over USD $1.6 billion dollars is it worthwhile to keep selling the iPad in China at all? How will Chinese citizens feel about not having access to the iPad if that is the end result? What kind of backlash will be felt by developers as a result of this case?