A court in southern China has rejected Apple's claim against a local technology company for use of its iPad trademark, according to newspaper reports on Tuesday.
The Intermediate People's Court in Shenzhen rejected Apple's complaint against Proview Technology over the iPad trademark.
Proview, the court said, lawfully registered the trademark as long ago as 2000 for products in a number of countries including China, the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper reported.
It is the latest move in a protracted tug-of-war over several roadblocks to Apple's success in China, where it has constantly battled product counterfeiters and more recently rake Apple Stores.
Apple confirmed the lawsuit but declined to comment further.
Apple launched its iPad tablet in 2010. It has faced similar battles over product name trademarks in other countries including the US, where it managed a deal with networking giant Cisco for use of the iPhone name for its smartphoens.
The right to use the iPad name in China is crucial for Apple, where the company is in the process of opening more stores. Executives say they have just scratched the surface in China in terms of sales.
Proview Technology and the Shenzhen court were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
Proview is also taking legal action, seeking 10 billion yuan in compensation from Apple for copyright infringement, Caixin Online reported in October.
(Reporting by Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong and Melanie Lee in Shanghai; Editing by Andrew Callus, Bernard Orr)