Chinese customs officers are apparently confiscating iPads in China based on a Chinese company’s claims that it owns the trademark to the term. That company, Proview Shenzen, is also looking for the government to ban importing and exporting Apple’s iPads.
It could happen. With the Chinese government looking to gain any advantage it can against American companies in the technology sector (just take a look at their attempts to cheaply knock off other technologies), Apple would be a perfect start. And if the Chinese government did ban import/export of the Apple product, it would significantly impact the price of the iPads in the United States, since all iPads are assembled in China.
Apple protests that it bought the trademark from Proview years back. “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,” said a spokesperson. But don’t look for the Chinese government to provide a fair and just settlement – not the same government that has exported trademark violating products for years to undercut American-made ones.
If this happened, the ramifications for the political scene would change dramatically. Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are advocates of taking a stronger stance against Chinese trademark violations; the only problem is that with the Chinese owning tons of our currency, their retaliation could severely damage our economy. In short, we’ve provided them exactly the leverage they need to undercut our top companies.