Apple’s iPad won’t likely be banned, after a Chinese tech company’s efforts to halt sales, underscoring the widespread popularity of the tablets.
Proview’s trademark claims resulted in some cities removing iPads from shelves, and Apple temporarily suspended online sales from large retailers in the country. But customs officials are saying it will be difficult to enforce a permanent ban, acknowledging the already-established market base.
Customs agents told ProView Apple’s sheer popularity poses a difficulty to the ban, according to a Reuters report.
The customs agency will unlikely disturb its Apple relationship for a company like ProView that is no longer stimulating economic growth, as the 2008 financial crisis stifled its efforts to monitor manufacturing operations, causing it multimillion dollars.
Apple’s best interests — keeping iPads available — align with China’s best interests, since the powerful corporation employs countless workers and popularity of the device with consumers continues to grow, boosting local economies. A possible import and export ban may trigger countless job losses in China and paralyze iPad sales internationally, since iPads are assembled in the country.
ProView plans on working with commerce regulators at a city level to continue investigation into the case’s legal consequences.
Apple bought the rights to the iPad name from a Taiwanese subsidiary of ProView several years ago, but ProView claims that sale didn’t apply to China. Decisions on the matter in lower courts are split, with Apple appealing its loss and a hearing on the decision expected later this month.
Despite the setback, ProView intends to push ahead in its claim, saying it owns the rights to the iPad name. Two online retailers, including Amazon China, took down the iPad at Apple’s request.
ProView, a financially strapped monitor technologies manufacturer, is seeking $1.6 billion in damages through the trademark claim. But in response to the customs agencies concerns about a total ban, it will likely now pursue an out-of-court settlement.
ProView is positioning itself to upset Apple’s iPad market, and the recent removals show some success in putting a stop on sales. But Apple’s foothold in the burgeoning Chinese marketplace is important to the country’s overall economy, and customs agencies refusal to go to great lengths to uphold the ban, showing they want to keep Apple around, even at the expense of a struggling local firm.