Apple IPads Seized in Infringement Case, Hebei Youth Daily Says

Officials in northern China seized 45 iPads in response to a complaint that Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s tablet infringes a trademark owned by Proview International Holdings Ltd. (334), the Hebei Youth Daily reported.

The tablets were seized at markets in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, the newspaper reported, citing Gao Wei, an official on the inspection team. Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on the news report, when reached by phone today.

Apple sued Proview’s Shenzhen-based subsidiary in April 2010, claiming ownership of the iPad trademark in China. The Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court rejected Apple’s claims on Nov. 17, Hong Kong-listed Proview said in a Dec. 15 regulatory filing. Apple appealed that ruling to the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong province on Jan. 5, Proview said in a Jan. 27 filing.

Investigations of Proview’s trademark infringement claims are being conducted in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, the Hebei Youth Daily said.

Proview’s shares have been suspended from trading in Hong Kong since Aug. 2, 2010.

The Taipei-based unit of Proview, a maker of computer displays, registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries as early as 2000, according to a report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency in December. The Shenzhen-based unit registered the trademark in China in 2001, according to Xinhua.

Apple bought rights to use the iPad trademark from Proview’s Taipei unit in 2009 with a payment of $54,616, however Proview’s Shenzhen unit reserved rights to use the trademark in China, according to Xinhua.

Apple began sales of the iPad in 2010.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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