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Posted by: Laurence Simons 28/05/12

Apple has taken time out from generating queues around corners this month as it faces a trademark dispute over in China, where Proview Technology has made a claim for the iPad name. It concerns hardware released by Proview way back in 1998 - an all-in-one Internet Personal Access Device, or 'iPAD' - which saw between 10,000 and 20,000 sales before the collapse of the company and the closing of its Shenzhen plant in 2010. As a result, approximately $1 billion of the firm's assets were divided among eight different banks, with whoever owning the piece of paper saying "I hereby grant you one trademark on the word iPAD" having in their possession a golden ticket for a ten billion yuan ($1.5 billion) lawsuit.

Apple first attempted to trademark the iPad name in China when it began to sell the device there last year, but despite coming to an agreement for global rights with the Taiwanese arm of Proview Technology, Proview Taipei, the Shenzhen-based unit that owns the Chinese trademark isn't giving up without a fight.

It is, however, in Apple's best interests to come to an agreement here. Sales in China contributed to some 16 per cent of Apple's overall revenues during the last fiscal quarter - despite them not achieving market dominance in the country - as imports from Hong Kong and abroad fuelled huge sales figures. "It's good for both sides to reach a settlement as soon as possible," said Proview Shenzhen attorney Xie Xianghui, whilst desperately trademarking every remaining word with an 'i-' in front of it.