Just last week, Apple announced a new iPad. It’s already become an object of desire in China. But, unfortunately for Chinese Apple fans, Apple has not announced a launch date for the Mainland market. Even if Apple does announce a Mainland launch date, its on going legal troubles with Chinese tech company Proview might hinder the release.
Kotaku has covered the Apple vs. Proview trade mark dispute closely, and it looks like the dispute is hitting a new level.
After the Apple’s announcement of the new third generation iPad, Proview Shenzhen came out with an open letter warning Chinese retailers from selling the iPad. It threatened the violators with “the responsibilities of trademark infringement”. Proview’s statement specifically mentions the sales, transportation, and distribution of all products that carry the iPad trademark which they claim they own.
China usually gets the short end of the stick when it comes to Apple products. The country and its citizens are enamoured with Apple products so much so that some kid even sold his kidney for an iPad last June; however, despite the bulk of Apples goods being manufactured and assembled in China, China is usually the last place they are officially released. The iPhone 4s was released in Oct 2011 in the States, but did not make its way to China until Jan. 2012, and the iPad 2 didn’t make its official Chinese debut until May 2011.
However, diehard Apple aficionados have always been able to get hands on the latest Apple products pre-official Chinese release by paying a surcharge at the gray market. It is uncertain what kind of impact Proview’s warning will have against grey market vendors if any at all, but Proview’s case against Apple in China is getting more convoluted as now it appears Proview’s creditors may actually own the rights to the iPad and not Proview. Proview went bankrupt in 2008 and has been struggling to payback creditors.
Proview’s creditors are nine state backed banks including Bank of China. If the trademark goes to the banks, it effectively will be property of the Chinese government. If that is the case, then a ban against the iPad may become real.
As of this report, the iPad and iPad 2 are still available for sale in Beijing and Shanghai, and on Apple’s Chinese webstore.
新iPad发布最不爽的人 深圳唯冠申请禁售 [PConline.com.cn]