Apple demands importer's customer data

Apple demands importer's customer data

Summary: In its quest to make sure the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 never sees the light of day in Australia, Apple has levelled a legal threat against an Australian tablet importer in an attempt to destroy the devices and obtain the names of those who have purchased one. Unfortunately for Apple, the tablet importer in question has no intention of playing ball.

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In its quest to make sure the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 never sees the light of day in Australia, Apple has levelled a legal threat against an Australian tablet importer in an attempt to destroy the devices and obtain the names of those who have purchased one. Unfortunately for Apple, the tablet importer in question has no intention of playing ball.

Gadget importer Dmavo had been capitalising on the injunction slapped on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in October until last week, when Apple's high-powered legal team at Freehills hand-delivered a 21-page cease and desist order designed to choke off the supply of the Samsung tablet to Australia.

The document (PDF) ordered Dmavo to return an undertaking to Freehills, stating first and foremost that the importer would stop selling, importing and disposing of all variations of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Apple and its lawyers also sought to obtain all of Dmavo's Galaxy Tab 10.1 units for immediate destruction, as well as the names, addresses and other details of anyone who bought one of the devices from Dmavo. Apple also wanted to find out from which company Dmavo was importing the devices.

Dmavo told ZDNet Australia yesterday that the Cupertino-based gadget maker was "dreaming" if it thought the company would stop selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and was outraged at the implication that it would hand over customer data.

"We've got no intention of complying with what they ask for. Especially providing customer details. It's a clear breach of the Privacy Act. What their wishes and demands are, they're way above what they can achieve under the current injunction," an unnamed executive of Dmavo told ZDNet Australia.

I'm happy to give the finger to Apple, he added.

The 28 October deadline for compliance has come and gone and neither Apple nor Freehills have been in touch again to enforce a penalty for non-compliance, but Dmavo's executive isn't afraid of what the gadget giant might throw over the trenches. He predicts another legal battle.

"They have not indicated what non-compliance may mean. They will try to take the matter to court, because technically there's nothing else they could do," he said, adding that by that time, the company would have undergone a restructure that would see the tablet-selling business carved up, registered and operational in an offshore location. He said he wouldn't even show up to such a case if it was brought before a judge.

"We'd let that hearing go so we don't have to pay legal costs and there'd be a default judgement in Apple's favour."

When asked if such a judgement would present problems, he said that neither Apple nor Freehills nor the Federal Court could order the tablet business to stop selling the devices due to its offshore location.

This isn't the first time Dmavo has beaten its chest in the face of Apple's high-powered legal team. When the initial injunction was handed down by Justice Annabelle Bennett in the Federal Court, Dmavo told ZDNet Australia that it wasn't afraid of Apple and wouldn't bow to threats.

Similar threats have been levelled at Australian gadget entrepreneur, Ruslan Kogan, who pulled his Galaxy Tab 10.1 units from sale after a similar legal threat.

ZDNet Australia sought comment from Apple Australia on the matter, but none had been received at the time of publication.

Apple and Samsung are set to go back before the Federal Court today.

Topics: Apple, Legal, Mobility, Samsung

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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14 comments
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  • I am getting so tired of hearing about Apple's paranoia, IMO its not about patient infringement, they are so deadly afraid of the sales that Android would make, and the inroads to their own products.
    I for one would like to have options IF I decided to buy such a product!
    Woomera-56563
    • I'm pretty sure that a part of Apple's claims was to let the Tab go to sale would 'severely impact on the Apple market share' or something to that effect. Isn't that the POINT of competition? where is OUR right as a consumer to choose what product we use? seriously. The type's of budgets both these companies go around with; you'd think they could afford to cave a little, meet in the middle, and organise something so the consumer gets the win.
      but nah. where's the good in that?
      bjbear@...
      • Apple's point is that the Tab is supposedly using Apple IP, and so shouldn't be allowed to derive ANY benefit.

        The problem is that various patents from both parties haven't been enforced until now. The problem is that Apple could lose its few devices if Samsung patents are upheld (because some seem to be for hardware), whereas the Tab is just one of many and the points Apple is complaining about could be changed in software.

        One has to be very careful about 'going ballistic' when everyone is sharing a 'house of cards' - oneself might get burned more than others.

        I think Apple has finally let its success go to its head, but may end up shooting itself there instead. It isn't superman, but its arrogance just might be its kryptonite.
        Patanjali
  • Simple answer: Avoid Rotten Apples!
    grump3
  • Is it time we gave Apple the iFinger?
    Treknology
  • Great article Luke :)

    We're glad the local media has taken an interest in what clearly amounts to down right bullying and intimidation on the part of Apple. It's time their "spotless" image produced some blemishes.

    Cheers,
    dMavo
    dmavo
  • I agree we give apple the ifinger, and i think this is repeating a pattern and letting it get to its' head. I'm sick of apple and I wont be buying another iphone.
    mickhoog
  • I reckon even most Apple fanbois would be a little irked by Apple's behaviour here. Of course there are going to be those that believe that you can't copy the look. Who cares? Anyway if Samsung stopped providing the hardware that Apple uses in their iPads & iPhones, they would be in serious trouble, if only for several months.

    As far as the software being the same, this is rubbish, one runs on Android which is a Javanese version running on Linux, written by Google whereas Apple's OS is a C-based system run on a free version of BSD-based UNIX which Apple turned into a proprietary software (this alone makes them scum no better than Microsoft). Apple haven't a hope in hell of winning on this front & despite Jobs's views of copying it they've never taken Android on. They wouldn't succeed in any case due to incredible differences in software structure.

    It's a pity Jobs didn't take Apple with him. I would have respected him if he hadn't been such a pitiful jerk about Android. The fact that he had no basic understanding of the differences between software structures & focussed so heavily to the point of probably stressing himself to death over Android made him a goon & a fool...
    alfielee@...
  • Change the name and product and this could be a chapter out of Atlas Shrugged...
    Vorant1
  • Apple behaving badly... again....
    h.brusic@...
  • A big thank you to everyone for the words of support received. We would like to reiterate that Apple will not get confidential customer details from us. Their blatant intimidation tactics have not been well received. It would be great if you could spread this message via Facebook or Twitter so that more people know about it. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

    Cheers,
    dMavo
    dmavo
    • Right on brother. I'm so glad someone is taking it to Apple. I have to work with their products every single day and the way they treat me, my business, the people I support and the people who support me is just disgusting, if I had a choice in the matter we'd be using other products. They make my blood boil, so thank you.
      GiantEgg
  • I thought the australian democracy was based on competition, and not intimidation / strong arm tactics. Guess i was wrong
    garetz
    • It's an American company; it's all they know.
      Shreav