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Court delays iPad decision

A boy plays with an iPad at the Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing. A lawsuit over the right to use the trademark in China is still under review in Guangzhou. Wang Jing / China Daily

SHANGHAI - The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court on Thursday rejected a request by Shenzhen Proview Technology to stop Apple from selling iPads in the city.

The court said it could not support Proview's application because no ruling has been made on whether Apple has violated Proview's exclusive right to use the iPad trademark.

A lawsuit over the right to use the trademark in China is still under the second instance trial at Guangzhou people's higher court, which is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday.

Xie Jinnan, a lawyer for Apple, said he was notified about the court's decision but is not authorized to make further comments on the case.

Proview's lawyers could not be reached.

Shu Jianxin, a Shanghai-based intellectual property attorney who has been closely following the case, said the Shanghai court is being cautious to wait for the Guangdong court's verdict.

The lawsuit in Guangdong will decide whether the trademark should be exclusively used by Shenzhen Proview Technology, while the case in Shanghai will decide whether the distributors of Apple products have the right to use it.

Shu said they are quite different lawsuits, but if the Guangdong court rules that Apple has no right to use the iPad trademark, then the Shanghai court might take the decision into consideration.

A legal expert said the Shanghai court's decision to suspend the case might be good news for Apple.

Liu Chuntian, professor of intellectual property at Renmin University of China, said Proview has to provide more evidence proving Apple had infringed on its trademark rights if it wants to win the suit.

In Shanghai's Apple flagship store, shop assistants said some customers have come to ask about the lawsuits, but they have not seen any changes on the sales of the iPad products these days.

"We sell as many iPads as usual and I don't think the lawsuits have impacted the sales of the products," said a shop assistant who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Wang Huazhong in Beijing contributed to this story.

Web link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/usa/2012-02/24/content_14685138.htm

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