Apple's iPad is barely a few days old, and it's already facing potential litigation. On the heals of China vs Google battling over censorship and Gmail hacking issues, Apple is having its own altercations with the Chinese. This time around, instead of debates with the government, Apple is being held up by bandits, literally.
Shenzhen Great Loon Brother is a company based in a southern Chinese city known for producing knock-off phones. The low-price handsets have become popular enough to inspire the derogatory name of "shanzhai" which translates to "bandit," and includes any phone that is not licensed for sales by regulatory authorities.
Shanzhai cell phone
However this go-around, the company is saying they're "no shanzhai" and that Apple's new iPad is too close in design to their PC-like Apple tablet - simply called P88. In other words, this is a clear case of 'the pot calling the kettle black!'
To add insult to injury, another law suit is brewing in the Orient. The Japanese electronics firm Fujitsu has also said it owns the rights to the name "iPad", presenting Apple's device with another legal challenge. In 2002 the company launched a computing device — complete with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and VoIP support — called the iPad. The Fujitsu iPad features a 3.5-inch color touch screen and an Intel chip.
The Fujitsu iPad (which had a considerably higher price point at its time of release — $2000 to Apple's entry-level price of $499) is most commonly used by shop clerks in retail stores for keeping track of inventory and recording sales. According to the New York Times, Fujitsu wanted the iPad name back in 2003 — and still wants it today. Lawyers continue to work overtime on both sides of the globe to solve that one.
While the dispute between Fujitsu and Apple is focused on Japan, there are other potential iPad claims from around the world. The German conglomerate Siemens uses the name for engines and motors, while a Canadian lingerie company, Coconut Grove Pads, has the right to market iPad padded bras.
So while Steve Jobs is known to walk on water and was even compared to Moses in my most recent blog, "Steve Jobs & The iPad Ten Commandments," it looks like Apple is not immune from having to deal with such earthly matters. Three ago, Cisco Systems claimed they had the rights to the "iPhone" name, but the two companies eventually negotiated a settlement out of court.
And then there is that issue of the name iPad sounding too much like a feminine hygiene product, but I don't Tampon was smart enough to trademark that one!
iPad - Feminine Hygiene Product?