Apple has threatened to sue the founder of Chinese firm Proview for defamation as the two companies' battle over the iPad trademark hots up.
Proview has previously claimed that Apple was abusing the iPad trademark by marketing products in China and asked Chinese custom officials to block imports and exports of the products.
Apple has dismissed these claims, arguing it had previously purchased the rights to use the term from Proview.
In an escalation of the legal spat, a law firm acting on behalf of Apple has written to founder Yang Rongshan, warning him that statements he has made to the media are "false" and have the potential to "damage Apple's reputation".
"Making misrepresentations in the press to inflame the situation is adversely affecting the interests of the parties in seeking any resolution of the matter," the letter reads.
"On behalf of Apple, we formally reserve all rights to take further legal action against any individuals and entities for any damages that may result from defamatory statements and unlawful actions intended to wrongfully interfere with Apple's business and business relationships."
The letter also reiterates Apple's insistence that the iPad trademark was bought from Proview in 2009 and that it has no case to answer.
"The contract and assignment documents were signed on 23 December, 2009, [...] however, Proview refuses to honour its agreements and has breached the principles of good faith and fair dealing," it reads.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press has reported claims from a lawyer for Proview who states that a court in Guangdong ruled that distributors in the city should stop selling the iPad. This is just one of 40-plus requests the firm has filed in cities around China.
The legal dispute is no doubt an annoyance to Apple, as it gears up for the expected launch of the iPad 3 on 7 March, and comes as the firm is embroiled in several other high-profile legal battles against major rivals including Samsung and Motorola.
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