Apple threatened with China iPad ban
A HONG KONG-listed maker of computer displays has asked customs officials to stop Apple exporting iPads from China in an escalation of the spat between the two companies.
Proview International Holdings has asked authorities to ban Apple's exports because it claims ownership of the trademark to Apple's latest best-selling gadget.
The move marks a deepening of the dispute between Proview and Apple, the world's biggest company by market value. Proview has already taken legal action to try to prevent Apple selling iPads in its own stores in China, which is the company's fastest-growing market.
"Apple wants to postpone and continue infringement of the iPad in China," Roger Xie, a lawyer for Proview, told Bloomberg.
Legal analysts said that Proview's action is designed to put pressure on Apple to settle the dispute. Besides being Apple's biggest potential market, China is also the base for the majority of the production of the iPad, so a ban would prove crippling.
Apple said that it acquired the rights to the trademark from Proview for ten countries, including China, and that Proview "refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China."
Proview's attack comes during an already testing week for the Californian company. On Monday, Apple allowed independent inspectors into its manufacturing facilities in China following heavy criticism over the working conditions of employees.
The team of inspectors from Fair Labor Association began inspections on Monday at Apple manufacturing plants run by FoxConn, the biggest electronics manufacturer in the world.
Despite these controversies, investors pushed Apple shares past the $500 mark for the first time this week after the company delivered $13bn (£8.3bn pounds) of profits in the last quarter of 2011.