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Apple sold over fifteen million iPads just in the final three months of twenty-eleven. Now the popular tablet computer is in its third generation. But as Apple prepared to launch a new iPad on March seventh, it faced legal challenges in China over rights to the name of the device. A court in Guangdong province heard a case brought by the Chinese company Proview Technology. Proview is based in Shenzhen, in southern China, and belongs to Proview International Holdings. The company says it holds the legal rights to the iPad name in China. Apple says it bought the iPad trademark in China and nine other countries from a business owned by Proview in two thousand nine.
A lawyer for Proview said he believes Apple has not provided new evidence for the case in Guangdong. Apple was appealing a decision by a lower court which found that the company did not own the iPad name.
Another lawyer for Proview said the legal issue over the trademark was clear. He said his company is fighting Apple over the idea of ownership. He also said Proview was willing to settle with Apple for the right amount of money.
Proview says it holds the trademark for the name of a device called an Internet Personal Access Device, or IPAD. The device looks like a desktop computer. Proview says it sold about twenty thousand of them over about ten years. It says it received the trademark or legal rights to the name in two thousand one.
Proview is in financial trouble. It has reported losses since two thousand eight and dismissed thousands of workers. Apple's legal team says that Proview is nearing failure. Apple says Proview has no product, no buyers and no suppliers.
Apple argues that a ruling against Apple would harm the interests of consumers in China. Apple's holds seventy-six percent of the tablet computer market in that country with its iPad.
A final decision by the high court in Guangdong is expected to take weeks. The trademark issue has not hurt Apple's stock price, at least so far. Apple has become the most valuable publicly traded stock in the world, worth about five hundred billion dollars.