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China faces conflict of law, business in iPad row

By Joe Mcdonald

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 17 2012 5:35 a.m. MST

In this photo taken on Friday, May 6, 2011, customers try out iPad tablet computer at a Apple's authorized dealer outlet in Changsha in south China's Hunan province. Authorities have seized iPads from more Chinese retailers in February 2012 in an escalating trademark dispute between Apple Inc. and a struggling local company that could disrupt global sales of the popular tablet computer. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

The Associated Press

BEIJING — Chinese officials face a choice in Apple's dispute with a local company over the iPad trademark — side with a struggling entity that a court says owns the name or with a global brand that has created thousands of jobs in China.

Experts say that means Beijing's political priorities rather than the courts will settle the dispute if it escalates.

Shenzhen Proview Technology has asked regulators to seize iPads in China in a possible prelude to pressing Apple Inc. for a payout. There have been seizures in some cities but no sign of action by national-level authorities.

Proview has a strong case under Chinese trademark law. But that could change if Beijing decides to intervene to avoid disrupting iPad sales or exports from factories in southern China.

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