Apple could face a legal challenge over its new tablet device, after Fujitsu said that it has been selling hardware under the iPad name since 2002 and applied for the trademark in 2003.

"It is our understanding that the name is ours," Masahiro Yamane, director of Fujitsu's public relations division, told The New York Times.

"'Mobile' is a keyword for Fujitsu's iPad too. With the iPad, workers don't have to keep running back to a computer. They have everything right at their fingertips."

Yamane added that the company is consulting lawyers about a legal challenge to Apple's use of the name.

The Fujitsu iPad is a handheld computer with a 3.5in screen running Windows CE with an Intel processor. The device has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a laser scanner and a magnetic card reader.

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