Chinese courts have quickly ruled in favour of Proview's trademark infringement case against Apple's iPad. One of the Intermediate People's Courts in China's Guangdong province has decided that local distributors need to stop selling iPads because Proview had a previous claim to the name. Of course, the case still has to go to Shanghai, where Apple will make a concerted resistance.
Apple has certainly had their fair share of trademark issues, but the fact that some courts in China are already calling for a ban on iPad sales shows this may be a tougher fight than usual. Of course, China will have a hard time blocking imports, but Apple has such a huge local retail presence that a permanent ban on iPad sales would be a considerable blow. Massive population aside, China's passion for Apple products is sizable, and even a slight lapse in sales could mean a lot of lost revenue. Here's hoping Apple can squash this complaint when the case gets to Shanghai this week.
Update: It looks like Apple is threatening to countersue Proview with defamation if it keeps talking about how it owns the iPad name. Such a defamation claims seems like a bit of stretch since it's begging the original question, but these kind of moves aren't uncommon in protracted engagements. At very least, maybe a countersuit will slow down Proview enough that Apple will have enough time to further cement themselves in Chinese retail, making a ban unfeasible.