Apple has lost a long-running legal battle against a Taiwanese-owned company that it claimed was illegally using its iconic iPad trademark in China, court officials and state media said. A court in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen ruled that Apple lacked "supporting facts and evidence" for its claim that Proview Technology (Shenzhen) was infringing the US company's iconic tablet computer trademark.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is owned by a Taiwanese company that registered the trademark name ipad in several countries including China as early as 2000, years before Apple began selling the iconic tablet.

Apple paid 35,000 poundsĀ  (Rs 28 lakh) for the global trademark rights in 2009, but Proview Technology (Shenzhen) retained the Chinese rights. The companies have been embroiled in a legal battle ever since.

A company charged with restructuring the debts of Proview Technology (Shenzhen) said after the ruling that Proview would seek 10 billion yuan (Rs 8,175 crore) from Apple for copyright infringement. Apple started selling its sleek iPad in China in September 2010, after months of grey-market action among avid buyers unwilling to wait for the official launch.