Officials have begun confiscating iPad devices from stores in China after a court ruled in December that Apple was guilty of infringing the trademark of Chinese monitor biz Proview.
According to Hebei Youth Daily, officials from the Administrations of Industry and Commerce (AIC) raided a reseller in Shijiazhuang, clearing it out of 45 fondleslabs.
Many stores and resellers have actually stashed the sought-after tablets out of sight in the event of being visited by the officials, although they are technically still selling them, DigiCha reported.
The hardline action comes even though Apple is still awaiting the result of its appeal against the original December 2011 ruling in favour of Shenzhen-based Proview, which registered the “IPAD” trademark way back in 2001.
In the meantime, Proview has demanded that Apple formally apologises and pays a $38m fine as a result of its transgression.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If the reports of sporadic iPad seizures by government officials are true and extend on a more widespread scale, then Apple could be in for a spot of bother in a potentially massive market for its shiny toys.
Some estimates have put the compound annual growth rate for tablet sales in the region of over 50 per cent in the next few years.
Apple will certainly buy its way out of this mess if it does lose its appeal, although the cost of doing so appears to be increasing all the time. ®