Beijing: Apple Inc ran into fresh trouble in China as a group of top Chinese writers have filed a case against it alleging that its App store is selling unlicensed copies of their books and sought USD 7.9 million compensation.
The claim, filed on behalf of 22 famous writers, involves 95 books that have allegedly been sold as pirated copies on Apple's App store.
Top writers Han Han, He Ma and Nanpai Sanshu, have teamed up and set up a writers' rights alliance, official media here reported on Sunday.
Han Han is China's top blogger with millions of followers.
The alliance has already sent a lawyer's letter to Apple and is waiting for the company's reply, Bei Zhicheng, head of the alliance said.
The group also claimed that when the Californian company was notified about the pirated content, it was too slow to remove the products, Xinhua news agency reported.
Local Apple spokesperson Huang Yu'na said that Apple understands the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.
The company will "respond properly and timely" to complaints.
China's National Copyright Administration confirmed that the App Store is suspected of piracy and copyright infringement, but it has to consult with other "relevant departments" to make a judgment.
The new case against Apple came as it grappled to win its trade mark dispute over 'iPad'.
Both Apple and Chinese electronics firm Proview Shenzhen are still sparring in courts over the lengthy iPad trademark case, while the Chinese company is seeking to have iPad sales and exports blocked.
Proview Shenzhen is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-headquartered Proview International Holdings Limited registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000.
Apple bought the rights to use the trademark from Proview Taipei in February 2010 via IP Application Development Limited (IP), a company based in Britain.
However, Proview Shenzhen claims it still reserves the right to use the trademark on the Chinese mainland.
Proview Technology is claiming USD 1.6 billion from Apple to reuse iPad trade mark in China.
A Chinese court is still considering an appeal by Apple of an earlier ruling against its claim to the trademark.
First Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 17:58