Apple is no stranger to litigation. In the last 6 months alone it has taken on all three major Android partners (Samsung, HTC, and Motorola) in some sort of courtroom battle. So it was no surprise to hear about its recent lawsuit in China over the iPad trademark.

But what is surprising is the fact that a Shenzhen court rejected the lawsuit, ruling in favor of the defendant, Proview — a Taiwanese electronics company. So until Apple decides to take further action, it doesn’t own the rights to “iPad” in the world’s largest country…

The iPhone-makers are used to being on the winning side of court decisions, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this time. The Financial Times is reporting that because of Apple’s loss in Shenzhen yesterday, Proview is the rightful owner to the iPad trademark in China.

And that could have some major ramifications for Apple’s tablet business in the country:

“Apple could face disruption to its iPad sales in China after a court rejected its claim to own the iPad trademark in the country and a rival sought to halt sales of the tablet device in two Chinese cities. The developments are the latest in a long-running dispute between Apple and Proview Technology (Shenzhen), a struggling Taiwanese-owned company that registered trademarks for the name IPAD in many countries long before Apple conceived its smash hit tablet computer.”

Since Apple isn’t typically on the losing side of anything, it’ll be interesting to see how the company handles this situation. Proview has vowed to go after Apple’s tablet in other areas if lawsuits in the initial two Chinese cities are successful, so the stakes are certainly high.