Trademark row puts Apple iPad production at risk

A Chinese company claiming to own the iPad trademark has asked customs officials to block shipments of the Apple iPad in and out of China

A Chinese company claiming to own the iPad trademark has asked customs officials to block shipments of Apple's iPad in and out of the country.

The move could affect global sales of the product, as China is a major manufacturing base for Apple products.

The threat stems from a long-running dispute between Apple and electronics firm Proview Technology over ownership of the iPad name, according to the BBC.

Last year, Proview won an initial judgement in a mainland Chinese court, which Apple appealed against. But now Proview’s lawyers say they will request a ban on all iPad imports and exports.

Apple said in a statement: "We bought Proview's worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago.

"Proview refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter. Our case is still pending in mainland China."

Proview claims it holds rights to the iPad trademark in China after registering two iPad trademarks in the country, which were not included in the agreement.

The dispute has intensified just as reports claim Apple is to announce the launch of the next version of the iPad in March.

According to the iMore blog, the new iPad will be announced on 7 March; will feature a higher resolution 2048×1536 Retina display and quad-core Apple A6 system-on-a-chip; and could be compatible with the next-generation 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) high-speed wireless standard.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the iPad 3 will have LTE capability. The paper said Apple was preparing an LTE version for the Verizon and AT&T networks in the US.

LTE, which offers faster data speeds than 3G, is not available in the UK and even within the US coverage is limited, according to The Telegraph. Some pundits say that, while LTE is likely to be included in the next iPhone, it may not figure in the iPad 3.

Speculation is likely to increase as the expected launch announcement date approaches, with still no indication of whether the next iPad will have improved cameras, increased storage capacity or feature Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant, Siri.

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