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China plans to crack down on 'malicious' trademarks after Apple's iPad name dispute

Apple's legal battle to obtain the rights to the "iPad" name was one of a number of high profile cases that have prompted the Chinese government to crack down on what it calls "malicious" trademark registrations.

Apple had a long dispute with Proview, which had previously used the name "iPAD" for a product that is no longer sold. Nearly bankrupt, Proview managed to receive $60 million from Apple for the rights to the iPad name this year.

The Apple-Proview fight over the iPad name was one dispute highlighted by Reuters on Monday in a report that revealed the Chinese government plans to get serious about trademark issues. The problems are so common that foreign governments, including the U.S., have pushed China for years to get tougher on copyright laws.

State media in China announced on Monday that the government plans to crack down on "malicious" trademark registrations. The effort would come in the form of a new proposed amendment, which will offer protection to international brands and give copyright owners the ability to ban others from registering their trademarks or using similar ones.

Other recent high-profile trademark disputes in China involve basketball great Michael Jordan, who sued a Chinese sportswear company in February, as well as French luxury group Hermes International SCA.

Credit: BirdAbroad.

Apple was also sued this July in China over the use of the "Snow Leopard" moniker for an older version of its Mac OS X operating system. A Chinese court also forced Apple to pay an encyclopedia publisher $82,00 over App Store piracy earlier this year.

Apple has also been victim to a number of fake stores in China that elaborately — and illegally — mimic Apple's own popular retail locations. The stores sell actual Apple products, reportedly in cases smuggled into the country to avoid paying taxes.