An iPad 2 advertisement in Shanghai.

Shanghai Court rules Apple can still sell iPad

Apple can still sell its iPad in Shanghai after a court rejected a request in a trademark case to stop the company selling its tablet computers in the city.

The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court denied a request by Proview Technology (Shenzhen) for the injunction and agreed to Apple’s request that the trademark infringement case be suspended pending a ruling in a separate case in a higher court.

The decision, announced on Thursday on the court's website, gives Apple some leeway in a larger battle over the iPad trademark in China, which is important to Apple not only as a consumer market, but also because the country is a major production base for the iPad and other of its products.

Its attention will now shift to the appeal it has filed against an earlier decision in Proview's favour by a court in Shenzhen, in the southern province of Guangdong.

The dispute, which dates back to a disagreement over what was covered in a deal for the transfer of the iPad trademark to Apple in 2009, has seen iPads seized by authorities in some Chinese cities.

Proview, which maintains that it holds the iPad trademark in China, has been suing Apple in various jurisdictions in the country for trademark infringement, while also using the courts to get retailers in some smaller cities to stop selling the tablet PCs.

An injunction on iPad sales in cosmopolitan Shanghai would have dealt a bigger blow than the earlier cases, as it would have forced Apple to remove the tablet PCs from the shelves of its three own stores in Shanghai, one of its biggest markets.

"This is a wrong decision," Roger Xie, Proview's lawyer, said by telephone. "We will submit an application for the court to reconsider its decision."

The outcome of the broader dispute, which Proview has said it is willing to settle out of court, will now hinge largely on the decision of the higher court in Guangdong, with a hearing in that case scheduled for February 29.

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