iPad Import/Export Ban Application In China Could Hurt Or Cost Apple

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) could soon be forced to withdraw production from China not by ethical concerns but by a legal dispute, if a claimant to the “iPad” trademark holder gets its way.

Proview, which this week successfully applied to have government officials seize 45 iPads from a single city store, now plans to seek a ban on all exports and imports of the tablets from and to China, its lawyer tells Reuters.

An import ban would dent Apple’s Chinese mobile ambitions. But an export ban could make iPad’s global fortunes difficult because iPad is made by Foxconn in China.

Apple is telling reporters: “We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter.”

In December, Xinhua reported Proview could seek 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion). Proview’s lawyer tells Bloomberg that is “preliminary”.

Apple on Monday said it had asked the Fair Labor Association non-profit to audit its final assembly suppliers including iPad maker Foxconn’s Chinese factories, following conern and protest at conditions, which have driven some staff to on-site suicide