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Monday Apple Rumors: Name Dispute Prompts China to Remove iPads from Stores

Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today.

iPad Removed from Stores by Chinese Authorities: The Chinese government is taking Proview Electronics’ claims that Apple is illegally using the iPad name very seriously. How seriously? Apple’s popular tablet PC is now being seized at official retailers across China, according to a report posted on Monday by the Hebei Youth Daily (via PC World). Inspectors seized iPads at Shijiazhuang stores before other retailers began volunteering their iPad stock to avoid conflict with the Administration of Industry and Commerce. Proview Electronics holds a patent on the iPad name, and while it licensed the name to Apple for $55,000, the company claims that the licensing agreement does not allow Apple to use the name in China specifically. On Feb. 7, Proview said that it was seeking $1.6 billion in damages from Apple as well as a formal apology.

Fair Labor Association Begins Audit of iPad Manufacturer Foxconn: Apple is still a long way from making amends for its tacit acceptance of abusive labor practices by some of its Asian manufacturing partners, including Foxconn (PINK:FXCNY), but the company is on the road to accountability. The Fair Labor Association, the nonprofit rights group with whom Apple announced a new partnership in January, began its full inspection of Foxconn’s plants on Monday, according to an Apple Insider report.  The inspection team, led by FLA president Auret van Heerden, will interview thousands of employees. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the FLA’s inspections are “unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope,” a statement no doubt intended to prove Apple is doing all it can to combat poor work conditions. An initial FLA inspection of 229 manufacturing facilities used by Apple found that 62 were not compliant with Apple’s requirements for maximum work hours and ergonomic conditions.

Apple Pressures Pegatron to Stop Making MacBook Air Competitor: Asustek‘s (PINK:AKCPF) Zenbook Ultrabook is a lot like Apple’s MacBook Air. So alike that Apple has threatened to end its manufacturing contract with Pegatron (PINK:PGTRF) if it doesn’t stop manufacturing Asustek’s line of compact PCs. A report at 9 to 5 Mac said that Apple threatened to take away its orders for the iPhone from Pegatron if the company didn’t cease Asustek Ultrabook manufacturing. As a result, Pegatron will wind down Zenbook production in March. While Apple’s influence over its supply chain may seem troubling, there is certainly a conflict of interest in play here: Pegatron itself is an offshoot of Asustek’s business.

As of this writing, Anthony John Agnello did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Follow him on Twitter at @ajohnagnello and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook. For more from the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.

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