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Apple May Face iPad Export Ban in China Trademark Row

Reuters

February 14, 2012

The latest issue involving Apple Inc and a Chinese tech firm highlights the legal challenges facing foreign companies operating in China.

The tech firm, Proview, claims it still owns the iPad trademark and will seek a ban on exports of the tablets from China--a ban which would greatly cut production and sales of the Apple products.

Apple said it bought the Proview's worldwide rights to the trademark in ten different countries several years ago, including the rights to the iPad name. But Proview claims the sale did not cover the trademark's use in China.

Apple could be in a very difficult situation if it had mistakenly bought rights from the wrong Proview subsidiary, said Thomas Chan, who has represented companies in trademark licensing negotiations with Apple.

"They've got a real, real problem," Chan said. "They're going to pay through the nose."

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