A court in China has ruled that retailers should cease iPad sales, dealing a setback to Apple in its battle for the iPad trademark in that country.
Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Shenzhen-based Proview Technology, told the Associated Press that the Intermediate People's Court in the city of Huizhou made the ruling Friday.
However, the report says the ruling is not expected to have a far-reaching effect, noting that Proview has asked commercial authorities to block iPad sales in 40 cities. Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the ruling, but the company has previously stated that it made a deal with Proview that the Chinese company refuses to honor.
"We bought Proview's worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter," an Apple representative told CNET.
Meanwhile, Proview representatives have threatened to file a $2 billion lawsuit against Apple in U.S. courts in much the way it has sued Apple in Chinese courts. A Proview attorney said the lawsuit would also be filed on the grounds that Apple bought the rights to the iPad name on condition that it would not make products to compete with Proview
Proview has claimed that one of its subsidiaries sold the name to Apple years ago but didn't have the authority to do so. Proview has reportedly been looking to settle out of court over the issue but says that Apple has so far failed to respond to its requests.
Apple has reportedly responded by threatening a defamation lawsuit against Proview. According to AllThingsD, Apple has sent a letter threatening legal action to Proview founder Yang Rongshan, accusing him of making false and misleading statements against the Cupertino tech giant.
"It is inappropriate to release information contrary to the facts to the media, especially when such disclosures have the effect of wrongfully causing damage to Apple's reputation," the letter reportedly said.