What if iPads can’t be sold? A Chinese company has requested the government to stop the sales and shipment of iPads into or out of China. Proview says that they own the name “iPad”. The BBC cites local media reports that dozens of iPads have been pulled from shelves in a suburb just south of Beijing and the New York Times says they’ve been impounded in the coastal city of Xuzhou as well.
Obviously, iPads are made in China and it’s a pretty big operation we’re talking about. So if something like this is able to spread, it could be incredibly disruptive to Apple and consumer electronics in general, not to mention the precedent it could set in the flow of the market.
What will happen next? The New York Times says who the heck knows:
The Chinese government is widely accused of ignoring what foreign intellectual property experts call the rampant theft of patents, trademarks and other creations like Hollywood films and computer software.
Paradoxically, however, China’s own intellectual property laws are so sweeping that they allow the Chinese government to ban the worldwide sale of any made-in-China product that is found to violate a Chinese patent, trademark or other protection. Tens of millions of iPads have been manufactured in plants in Chengdu and Shenzhen since the tablet was introduced in April 2010.
Moreover, because Chinese courts are not independent but instead answer to the Communist Party, rulings can frequently be swayed by politics, personal relationships and other factors.