Chinese high court begins Apple's iPad appeal

This is where Apple's longer term fortunes in China may be decided.

The Higher People's Court of Guangdong province started an appeal hearing Wednesday, in Apple's iPad trademark dispute with Chinese firm Proview.

The little-known Asian firm maintains it holds the iPad trademark in China, and has sued Apple in various jurisdictions across the country, including in Guangdong, for trademark infringement.

Apple appealed to the Guangdong high court after an earlier lower court ruling in favour of Proview.

Heading into court, Proview's lawyer, Xie Xianghui says he's confident of winning the appeal.

"Apple has not provided much new evidence. They are just using some evidence that they have submitted in the Hong Kong courts and resubmitting it as evidence in the local Chinese courts. Using this evidence, Apple cannot say that it has the rights to the iPad trademark in China. Therefore, I feel Apple would not have a case to overrule the original verdict."

Apple won a minor reprieve last week, after a Shanghai court threw out a request by Proview to halt iPad sales in the city, averting an embarrassing suspension at its own flagship stores.

But the outcome of the broader dispute hinges on the hearing of the higher court in Guangdong.

"The main thing today is to rebut some of the viewpoints that Apple has made for this appeal. After that, we will give our opinions of the supplementary evidence that both sides will give."

The dispute between little-known Proview and the world's most valuable technology company dates back to 2009.

Apple said that was when it bought Proview's ownership of the trademark in various countries.

The Chinese firm claims it does not include the rights to the iPad name in China.

Lawyers say a decision by the high court could take weeks, if not months.

China is an increasingly pivotal market for Apple, which is trying to expand its business in the world's No. 2 economy to sustain its pace of growth.

Apple's iPad dominates China's tablet PC market with a 76 percent market share, with three Apple retail stores in Shanghai and two in Beijing.

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