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
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
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
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."
quote: Even if both sides reach a deal, Apple's crusade against the counterfeiters may continue. The lawsuit includes an undisclosed number of individuals and businesses who made, sold or distributed the alleged counterfeit goods.Their identities are not yet known, but could include entities higher up on the suspected counterfeit chain. Apple has won a court order requiring the defendants to turn over access to their business email accounts, which could yield clues about other defendants to be named at a later date.