Apple files complaint against Chinese vendor for using EPAD trademark

The Chinese luggage vendor uses the EPAD trademark on its luggage products

Apple, which already faces uncertainty over ownership of the iPad trademark in China, has filed a complaint demanding a local Chinese luggage vendor drop the EPAD trademark it uses on its products.

On Feb 2, Chinese firm EBox Digital Technology Product received a complaint from Apple, asking the company to give up the EPAD trademark because it closely resembles the iPad name, a spokeswoman with EBox said on Thursday. The complaint had been filed through China's trademark office.

EBox is a maker of laptop luggage cases, and has been using the EPAD trademark on its products. The company has no plans to use the EPAD name for any electronics or tablet devices, said the spokeswoman, who would only disclose her surname as Cheng.

Apple is already locked in a legal battle with local Chinese firm Proview for ownership of the iPad trademark in China. The U.S. tech company was dealt a legal blow in December when a court in Shenzhen, China rejected the company's claims to the trademark. Apple has appealed the decision.

EBox opposes Apple's complaint and is preparing a formal response. "The iPad trademark is not Apple's, so now they want to take ours," said EBox's spokeswoman. "Apple has been a bully."

Apple declined to comment. EBox applied for the EPAD trademark in 2010, according to a China's trademark office website.

The ongoing trademark dispute over the iPad name threatens to ban sales of Apple's iconic tablet in China. Proview has filed its own lawsuits and complaints demanding that Chinese authorities stop vendors from selling the iPad. Earlier this month, a Chinese court ordered a local electronics vendor to halt selling iPads at one of its stores.

A Proview representative has said Apple should pay US$400 million for the iPad trademark. Some Chinese consumers have suggested Apple rename its tablet to avoid further legal action.

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