Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

Summary: Apple has a new lawsuit, but this time it's suing defendants who want to be just like Apple.

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TOPICS: Apple
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In July, counterfeit Apple Stores garnered a lot of media attention as several popped up around China. The Chinese government stepped in and shut down a few of them, but the problem exists stateside as well.

Thus, Apple is taking legal action against the fraudulent retail locations -- at least those in the United States.

AppleInsider reports that the Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation has filed a trademark (not patent!) infringement suit against at least 50 John Does and unnamed businesses at the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York.

As the lawsuit is reportedly remains hidden away from the public eye under a court seal, there aren't many financial specifics nor names of the defendants.

However, AppleInsider has pointed out a number of defendants on its own, which have some almost funny names, including Fun Zone Inc. and Apple Story.

Based on the photo of the Queens, N.Y. storefront and the silly name, who would actually think Apple Story is authentic? At least at the fake locations in China, the employees made a real effort to look like official Apple Store salespeople and the interiors looked rather similar to the traditional Apple Store.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of uninformed consumers out there who could potentially believe anything.

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Topic: Apple

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28 comments
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  • Walmart will be next

    Yes. Apple "invented" the retail store.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Will these fake stores release a statement that there is 'conspiracy' to ..

      @facebook@... wage "hostile campaign" against them?
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @DeRSSS Ha ha ha :-)
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

      @facebook@...

      No, but if you were Apple, you'd do the same thing.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

      @facebook@... Apple didn't invent the retail store, but they did trademark "Apple Store" and have the right to defend their trademark, just as Walmart has the right to defend it against a discount store that hung up a shingle calling itself "WallMart". Several years ago, Victoria's Secret successfully sued a retailer of men's lingerie that called itself "Victor's Secret". The fake store plays on the trademark holder's name and reputation, thus diluting its value. So the trademark holder has the right to defend it. That's why we have courts- they ultimately decide if the infringement is enough to warrant disrupting the defendant's business. Usually, the defendants rename themselves and go away. So if "Apple Story" were to make a deal and rename itself "Smartphone Story", it could slink off and try to survive by selling Chinese-made iPhone cases without the play on Apple's trademark.
      ssaha
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @ssaha
        Seriously? Against "Apple Story?"

        Nobody on earth would fall for that. Nobody.
        Droid101
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @Droid101<br><br>You would be surprised... :-/

        In fact, I'm surprised the Internet doesn't have a rule number for it yet. "Never underestimate people's stupidity."
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @ssaha Sounds like satire to me.
        jgm@...
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @Droid101

        Like no one would fall for Lindows, or Mike Rowe Software?
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @ssaha Apple is doing just fine cheapening its own brand image without anyone helping them out. If I was a judge I'd rule that some of Apples recent comments via Jobs have done more damage to their brand image than a hundred fake shingles could ever do and toss the whole case out.
        Str0b0
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @Str0b0

        "Apple is doing just fine cheapening its own brand image...."

        Oh really? Based on what metric, pray tell?
        .DeusExMachina.
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @Droid101 Come on admit it, if Apple was substituted with Google in this story you would be cheering them on and you know it.
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

      @facebook@...

      "Walmart will be next. Yes. Apple "invented" the retail store.

      "Why do you hate America so much?

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Why%20do%20you%20hate%20America%3F


      What in the world does this have to do with invention? Stating that Apple didn't "invent" retail stores (or phones, mp3 players, or the internet for that matter) is as good as admitting you really have no argument. :-)
      dave95.
    • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

      @facebook@...

      What would happen if I opened a store which mimicked Wal-mart ? If I copied their logos? Had greeters welcoming people to Walmart as they came in the door?

      Pick the choice below that you think is most likely:

      1. Wal-mart would be unconcerned -- no one would mistake that store for a <i>real</i> Wal-mart and complain to all their friends that "Wal-mart" jerked them around when the junk they were sold didn't work as expected.

      2. Wal-mart would have it's lawyers in court in a split picosecond getting a court order to shut me down plus civil and criminal suits.

      I know which I would pick as the most likely recalling that Wal-mart sued over the use of a smiley face claiming that the smiley face is a Wal-mart trademark.
      DNSB
      • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

        @DNSB False analogy. None of the stores cited in this article have copied Apple's name, logos or look.
        jgm@...
  • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

    They should sue each of the other stores for copying them on copying Apple, then Apple can sue them again for copying Apple's original suit. You aren't copying Apple until you are suing everyone too.
    grayknight-22253692004129760887070084760051
  • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

    This lawsuit has made me reconsider and place my plans for a fur-lined notebook cover, the "MacBook Hair", on hold.
    jgm@...
  • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

    "The Chinese government stepped in and shut down a few of them"

    Shouldn't even really be brought up. They weren't taken down because they were Apple Clones. They were taken down because they didn't have a business license. It could have been a hat store and they still would have been shut down.
    Aerowind
  • People are stupid

    There was a story on the local news last year about a guy selling Apple Notebooks for a "cheap" $1000 out of the trunk of his car. Several people bought them, when they opened the box, they found a three-ring binder with an apple sticker on it.
    PepperdotNet
  • RE: Apple takes legal action against fake retail stores

    Non-story. If you're passing yourself off using another companies trademarked... well, trademark, they can stop you and the courts will back them. If you're not, they won't sue. Borderline cases, well... maybe big business will get their way.

    Not always though. In Scotland, a cafe that for many decades had been called "McDonalds Cafe" (who would have thought that a cafe would bear the name of possibly Scotland's most famous clan, and in Scotland as well!) was sued by a well-known firm of burger slingers over breach of trademarking. The burger company were told by the courts to take a hike.
    bargeemike