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What's in a name? For Apple iPad, maybe $2 billion

Turns out, it's not just Apple's mobile devices that are made in China: the name iPad was coined by Shenzhen Proview Technology more than a decade ago. Now the company is demanding that Apple fork over up to $2 billion if the Cupertino colossus wants to sell its popular tablet in mainland China.

Far from the factory floors where iPads are assembled, Proview's Taiwanese affiliate sold rights to the name iPad years ago for around $55,000, but the financially troubled parent company —  which recently filed for bankruptcy — says those rights don't apply to mainland China. Chinese media said Proview sought $1.6 billion in compensation for the name, although the Wall Street Journal reported Friday that its creditors are thinking bigger and want as much as $2 billion. 

The Chinese legal system has been relatively favorable to Proview thus far, dismissing an earlier suit brought by Apple asserting its right to the iPad name in mainland China. Local authorities have confiscated iPads for sale in 20 cities throughout the country. 

Proview so far has been unsuccessful in its more ambitious gambit to stop all iPad exports from China, a request that, if granted, would be a huge headache for Apple. 

China is Apple's fastest-growing market, so it might be worth it for the tech company to dip into its sizable war chest and settle with its antagonist. Proview could certainly use the money. A Reuters reporter described visiting Proview's factory in Shenzhen, only to find it abandoned and vandalized. 


Apple iPads seized by China in name dispute