BobbyeM71hxwChina Tablet PC Maker May Sue Apple Over IPad Design

A Chinese company, selling a tablet PC like Apple’s newly announced iPad, may sue the US Company over the similar design between the devices, said the company Monday.

Last Year, Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial started selling its P88 tablet and is not ruling out a lawsuit against Apple, a company representative surnamed Wu said by phone.

The company is based in a southern Chinese city known for producing knock-off phones, which are called “shanzhai,” or “bandit” phones, and sometimes takes the form of counterfeit iPhones or other popular handsets.

According to Wu, we are not shanzhai for these things, because we were first.

The P88 weighs more than the iPad and has much shorter battery life at just over one hour during active use, compared to Apple’s stated battery life of 10 hours for the iPad. But both devices use touchscreens that have a black border and a similar size, at 10.2 inches for the P88 and 9.7 inches for the iPad. Wu said his company’s tablet is sold in the U.S., but declined to say at which outlets.

No immediate comment was returned from an Apple’s spokeswoman.

China’s gray market for electronic devices also reacted quickly to Apple’s announcement of the iPad last week. Some users on Taobao.com, a Chinese auction and retail site, are taking pre-orders for iPads they will first obtain in Hong Kong or elsewhere. Popular devices such as the iPhone or the Hero from Taiwan’s High Tech Computer (HTC) are often brought into China informally and sold there online or at electronics bazaars.

Apple has not yet cleared that if the iPad will be sold in China. Local carrier China Unicom started selling the iPhone last year, but gray-market versions of the device were already widely sold in China.

And according to Japanese electronics company Fujitsu, it owns the rights to the name “iPad,” raising another possible legal challenge for the Apple device.

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