Does Apple Own 'iPad'? Maybe Not in China

People at an Apple store in Shanghai. ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Apple's iPad has been a runaway success by almost any measure … except for the name "iPad."  A Chinese company, Proview Technology, says it registered the iPad name there in 2001, and has sued Apple to stop it from using "iPad" in the giant Chinese market.

"We have to admit that Apple's iPad is a great product, and Apple creates great value out of that," said Yang Rongshan, chairman of Proview's subsidiary in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "But this is not the reason to support their irregular practice here."

Apple has argued that it bought the iPad trademark from Proview's Taiwanese subsidiary in 2006. Proview answered that the deal only covered the use of the name in Taiwan.

Apple has lost in court there, and Proview Technology is asking for compensation between $38 million and $1.6 billion. Apple may not have to pay - but if Proview can actually stop Apple in China, it could be big. Apple has not commented on the case, and has not replied thus far to messages from ABC News.

"We ask the court to stop selling and marketing for Apple's iPad in China," Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Proview Technology, said in China Daily. "We also demand an apology."