While Apple probably wishes they'd really locked down the trademark rights to the iPad name long ago, the folks at Proview Technology in Shenzhen have a prior claim to the name and they're taking Apple to court over it. They're asking Apple stop selling the iPad in China (which only went on sale in the area recently), and demand an apology. Proview Shenzhen had registered the trademark in 2001, but their sister company, Proview Taiwan, had sold the rights to the iPad name to a UK firm, even though the Taiwanese company didn't have rights to the trademark. Despite that, a UK company then sold the rights to Apple, which now counts iPad on their official trademark list. Apple had known about this whole mess, and had sued Proview Shenzhen last year to assert their claim to "iPad", but had lost the suit. Now it looks like Proview is taking the fight to Apple.

Apple still doesn't own ipad.com, and with this trademark issue lingering, there's a clear gap in their IP rights. It's not like they don't have enough money to throw at the problem, and that said, odds are slim that this trademark suit will pose any serious roadblock to the advance of iPad in China. Proview makes outdoor LED lighting, so it's not like there's any real competitive overlap here; they probably just want a big fat payoff, and it's hard to blame them. We'll be keeping an eye on the lawsuit's progress following the initial hearing this month.

Source: China Daily