Apple iPad Trademark Battle Most Recent China Issue

Apple's battle in Chinese court over the iPad trademark is the latest issue it faces in that country, which include controversies surrounding Foxconn.

Apple and Chinese technology firm Shenzhen Proview Technology are battling in Chinese court over the €œiPad€ trademark.

Shenzhen Proview Technology argues that, while Apple indeed purchased that trademark from its Taiwanese affiliate in 2009, those rights are invalid on the Chinese mainland. The company, which recently filed for bankruptcy, has asked the court to forbid Apple from selling its tablets as the €œiPad€ in China.

€œWe bought Proview€™s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,€ Apple wrote in a Feb. 22 statement to The New York Times and other media outlets. €œProview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China, and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter.€

In late January, The New York Times published a series of reports about working conditions at Foxconn, which builds Apple€™s best-selling products. €œThe workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions,€ read the paper€™s Jan. 25 piece, which partly drew its information from unnamed factory employees. €œProblems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious€”sometimes deadly€”safety problems.€

Those reports drew a fair amount of negative attention to Apple. In January, it became the first technology company admitted to the Fair Labor Association, and its suppliers apparently opted to cooperate fully with a €œspecial voluntary audit€ by the organization. €œWe believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment,€ Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a Feb. 13 statement.

In the wake of that inspection of its manufacturing facilities in China, Foxconn gave its workers a pay raise. According to Bloomberg, salaries jumped anywhere from 16 percent to 25 percent.

Apple had launched high-profile investigations into Foxconn€™s facilities before, notably after 12 worker suicide attempts throughout the first half of 2010. Moreover, Apple€™s annual reviews have uncovered a number of suppliers violating the company€™s code of conduct.

Now, in addition to its factory concerns, it seems as if Apple is facing a legal fight as well.

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