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Apple has accused two stores -- Apple Story and Fun Zone Inc. -- of selling knockoff Apple gear such as iPad, iPhone and iPod cases

In late July, photos on a blogger's site sparked an investigation of an unauthorized Apple store in Kunming, China, which sold products and looked just like a real Apple store. Last week, 22 more fake Apple retailers were found in China

Now, the hunt and capture of more unauthorized Apple products continues as the computing and electronics giant pursues stores in the Chinatown section of Queens, New York. Apple has accused two stores -- Apple Story and Fun Zone Inc. -- of selling knockoff Apple gear such as iPad, iPhone and iPod accessories.

Apple had sent its representatives to both Chinatown stores multiple times over several weeks to buy a variety of iPod, iPhone and iPad cases as well as stereo headsets. All of the products the company purchased had an Apple trademark as well as the phrase "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China." In addition, the items had similar markings to those found on real Apple products. 

On July 25, 2011, Apple filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Apple Story and Fun Zone, which are both owned by New York resident and case co-defendant Janie Po Chiang. The other case co-defendant is Fun Zone manager Jimmy Kwok. 

On July 27, Apple launched multiple ex parte seizure warrants, which allowed the company to seize items with the Apple logo from both stores.

Until yesterday, the case remained under seal. The U.S. trademark counterfeiting law allows companies to file a trademark infringement action under seal in order to keep it a secret from the accused counterfeiters before seizure orders are launched. But U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ordered that the record be made public now that the items in question have been seized.

Matsumoto has granted Apple's request for preliminary injunction to prevent either store from selling fake Apple products. Apple is currently awaiting a ruling on whether Apple Story has to change its name or not. 

In addition, Apple is taking the ordeal a step further by requesting a list of all individuals who have purchased or sold knockoff Apple goods, triple monetary damages and an order to destroy any leftover Apple knockoff goods. 

As far as the list of individuals goes, Apple won a court order requiring the defendants to give Apple their business email accounts. This will show Apple who made and distributed the fake Apple accessories, which will likely lead to the addition of more defendants in this case or separate lawsuits altogether.

"Defendants are trading on and receiving the benefit of the goodwill Apple has established in the Apple trademarks through considerable labor and expense over many years," said Apple in its complaint. 

According to court records, both parties are moving toward an agreement, but "nothing has been finalized."

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RE: apple trademarks and goodwill??
By ltcommanderdata on 8/19/2011 11:21:17 AM , Rating: 2
The alternative explanation is that Apple is asking for the names of customers simply to fulfill their legal and perhaps moral responsibility to notify affected customers that the Apple labeled products they bought did not if fact come from Apple.

There is hardly a monetary, PR or probably even legal justification for Apple to try to seize or sue thousands of individual customers for purchasing 1 or 2 fake iPhone cases each, unwittingly or otherwise. Perhaps if they find a reseller who is purchasing and reselling this fake products in bulk then Apple would take action, which would then be justified.

RE: apple trademarks and goodwill??
By wiz220 on 8/19/2011 12:48:04 PM , Rating: 3
It seems like a reasonable remedy may be that Apple sues these stores, gets money from them (money for lost revenue + some sort of punitive damages), then goes to the affected retail customers and gives them genuine Apple products in exchange for their knockoffs. This way, Apple gets their rightful revenue from the lawsuit and, if indeed the people thought they were purchasing genuine Apple products, they get what they were expecting. Plus Apple looks like a good guy in the consumer's eyes.

RE: apple trademarks and goodwill??
By MrWho on 8/20/2011 3:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
"goes to the affected retail customers and gives them genuine Apple products in exchange for their knockoffs"

Excuse me for a moment while I roll on the floor laughing out loud.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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