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Firm in Apple dispute seeks to ban China iPad imports
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Feb 14, 2012

An electronics firm said Tuesday it would ask customs in China to block iPad imports after it won a copyright case against Apple, prompting one city to pull some of the tablet computers from shops.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) says it owns the Chinese rights for the name "iPad" but Apple -- claiming trademark infringement -- last year took the firm to a Chinese court, which unexpectedly rejected the case over lack of evidence.

"We are preparing requests to customs for blocking iPad imports," Xie Xianghui, the firm's lawyer, told AFP.

"It is still in the process of preparation," he said, adding the requests would be made to local customs offices and not the national-level customs administration as part of a strategic, localised approach.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is owned by a Taiwan-invested company that registered the trademark name "iPad" in several countries including China as early as 2000 -- years before Apple began selling the product.

The US giant subsequently bought the rights for the global trademark, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) claims it retained the Chinese rights.

Apple has repeatedly declined to comment on the case. The company could not immediately be reached on Tuesday.

Xie said the firm had lodged complaints in more than 10 cities across China after Apple lost the case in December, but only one -- Shijiazhuang in the northern province of Hebei -- had acted so far.

According to the official Global Times newspaper, at least 45 iPads have been seized in one district there since last Thursday.

Officials at the city's industrial and commercial bureau confirmed to AFP that authorities had confiscated some iPads, but refused to comment on specific numbers.

However, the iPad -- which was officially launched in mainland China in September 2010 -- remains on sale across the nation's five Apple stores, electronics retailers and through on-line shopping sites.

The craze for all things Apple in China has triggered widespread cloning of iPhones and iPads over the years.

In July, an American blogger uncovered fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming, and police in Shanghai arrested five people in September for making counterfeit iPhones.

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Apple testing smaller screen tablet: WSJ
Washington (AFP) Feb 14, 2012 - Apple is testing a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the hot-selling iPad, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper, quoting unidentified people familiar with the situation, said the California gadget-maker was working with component suppliers in Asia to test the tablet computer with a smaller display.

The Journal quoted officials at Apple suppliers as saying the company has shown them screen designs for a device with an eight-inch (20.3-centimeter) display.

The iPad has a 9.7-inch (24.6-cm) screen. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since launching the device in April 2010.

The Journal said Apple was working with Taiwan's AU Optronics Co. and South Korea's LG Display Co. to supply the test panels.

The newspaper cautioned that Apple frequently works with suppliers to test new designs and "could opt not to proceed with the device."

Apple reportedly plans to unveil a new version of the iPad in the first week of March. According to the Journal, the "iPad 3" will have a higher resolution screen than the iPad 2 but will be the same size.

Both Amazon and Samsung offer smaller and lower-priced tablets than the iPad.

Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs once famously dismissed tablets smaller than the iPad saying they were "tweeners" that were "too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."

He suggested in October 2010 that makers of seven-inch (17.8-cm) screens "include sandpaper so users can sand down their fingers" to be able to tap onscreen keys.


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Watchdog group begins China Apple inspections
New York (AFP) Feb 13, 2012
Apple, following reports of harsh working conditions, said the watchdog Fair Labor Association began inspections Monday at a Foxconn plant in China that makes products for the California gadget-maker. "We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we've asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," Apple ... read more

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