Apple's iPad has got entangled in a trademark case in China. The Industry and Commerce is investigating Apple's right to use the iPad trademark in China.

Proview Technology, based in the industrial hub of Shenzhen, in early 2011 had claimed that Apple has infringed on its iPad trademark asking court to prohibit Apple from selling and marketing iPad in China. It is a subsidiary (affiliate) of Proview International Holding Limited (Hong Kong) which also has a branch in Taiwan (Taipei).

Proview Taipei registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000, and Proview Shenzhen registered the trademark in the Chinese mainland in 2001.

Apple bought the rights to use the trademark from Proview Taipei in February 2010 via IP Application Development Limited, a company registered in Britain. However, Proview Shenzhen claims it still reserves the right to use the trademark in the Chinese mainland. The two sides have been entangled in a legal battle ever since, China Daily reported.

Apparently, the 2010 deal did not give Apple the right to use the iPad trademark in China. However, Apple pushed on with the iPad sales in China ignoring Proview's request to stop infringement and its demand for compensation.

Apple lost the lawsuit in Shenzhen court in December 2011 with the court delivering the verdict that Proview Taiwan did not have legal right to represent the parent company in the 2010 deal. Apple has appealed to the Higher People's Court of Guandong province.

The case is still under trial, and if Apple loses again, Apple might have to pay a large sum of fine. There are also rumors that the tech giant might negotiate with Proview to take over iPad trademark.

 A similar lawsuit has been filed in Beijing, with Proview seeking $38 million in fines from Apple.