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Apple forces Meizu to halt sales of iPhone-lookalike

post #1 of 67
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Apple has pressured the Chinese smartphone maker into halting production and freezing sales of its M8 smartphone due to alleged patent violations.

For years, Meizu has been producing phones with a similar look and feel to Apple's iPhone. Though the company's offerings were never officially sold in the U.S., Meizu has garnered a loyal following, especially in its home country of China.

Earlier this week, Meizu CEO Jack Wong reportedly expressed frustration over Apple lawyers using "unreasonable negotiation tactics" when dealing with Meizu, according to Engadget. Apple's legal department went after Meizu for its M8 touchscreen smartphone, which the Cupertino, Calif., company alleges has "an appearance roughly similar" to that of its iPhone.

Wong then announced on Meizu's online forums that the company would cease production and stop sales of the M8, due to Apple's efforts to enforce its patents through China's Intellectual Property Office, Electronista reports. The company's next-generation M9 smartphone, which will run a custom version of Android, could also be delayed if the local government moves to shut down factories.

Apple had reportedly reached a deal with Meizu to halt production of the M8, but then "allegedly turned on the deal" and pressed for a sales ban as well, the report notes. Wong has threatened that the company may resort to filing its own court case if pressed too hard. In postings to the company's official forum, he wrote that he would cope with the halt in production, but not with the sales freeze, which could jeopardize Meizu's resellers.

According to Electronista, early mockups of Meizu's M8 smartphone emerged within weeks of Apple's unveiling of the original iPhone in 2007 and bore a striking resemblance to Apple's entry into the wireless industry. Updates to the final design of the M8, which was released in late 2008, closely resembled the newly released iPhone 3G.

With Apple aggressively going after the Chinese market, it will need to protect its intellectual property. Some manufacturers in China are quick to copy designs of popular devices, especially ones from Apple, often selling them as 'knock-offs' on the grey market.

Meanwhile, Apple's brand recognition in China has seen steady improvement. Sales of the iPhone 4 in China appear to be healthy, topping 100,000 in the first few days after launch, with over 100,000 more pre-orders to be fulfilled in the month of October. In February, the Cupertino, Calif., company revealed plans to open 25 retail stores in China in the next two years. Apple's third and fourth Chinese retail stores opened to long lines on Sept. 25, the same day as the iPhone 4 launch.



post #2 of 67
When you check out the Meizu website you have to wonder what these guys were thinking and just how long they thought they would get away with copying the Apple look and feel.

Even the way they have the headphones designed and just check out the M8 spec page. Looks like it was copied directly from Apple.

To be honest, they must have the technical know how to slap the phone together but must lack even a single creative idea of their own, which is quite sad.

here is a link to a video review mp4 nation did for it last year: http://mp4nation.net/blog/2009/02/me...-video-review/

Here is a link to an engadget gallery for the Meizo M9 interface which is even more like the iphone even down to the cut and paste function. http://cn.engadget.com/photos/meizu-m9-new-ui-0/
post #3 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

When you check out the Meizu website you have to wonder what these guys were thinking and just how long they thought they would get away with copying the Apple look and feel.

Even the way they have the headphones designed and just check out the M8 spec page. Looks like it was copied directly from Apple.

To be honest, they must have the technical know how to slap the phone together but must lack even a single creative idea of their own, which is quite sad.

It says their OS Mymobile .. is based on Windows CE6.0. Strange that MS hasn't a similar OS. You have to wonder what they reversed engineered.
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post #4 of 67
Apple wisely waited until their patents were firmly recognized by China before pouncing.

Steve's experiences with NeXT and PIXAR have helped him make Apple cautious and ready for all attacks.
post #5 of 67
Has Meizu made an actual phone that works, or are they just photoshopped bluster?
post #6 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Has Meizu made an actual phone that works, or are they just photoshopped bluster?

I assumed they were available ... you think not?
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post #7 of 67
Their company name is spelled wrong!

It's Meitu, pronounced Me-too!

Or Meizu got sued by Appleson!

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post #8 of 67
Raff out Roud! ROR!
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post #9 of 67
I've owned Meizu products since 2006. Back then, they copied the iPod nano to a T, but replaced the circle with a friction pad. The original M8 was supposed to be out like 2 or three years ago, but got delayed and delayed and finally, underwent some design changes. It used to be a perfect iPhone knockoff. Now it is just a real wannabe.
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post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I assumed they were available ... you think not?

Where is it available? At what price?
post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Meizu CEO Jack Wong reportedly expressed frustration over Apple lawyers using "unreasonable negotiation tactics" when dealing with Meizu

Its like a guy who shoot up a bus full of children and then claims police brutality when hes finally apprehended. Or one of those idiots that call the police when someone took their stolen goods.

This does make me wonder if Apple is really pushing into China hard now. They apparently have 25 more stores plans and tells me that China Unicom and China Telecom just wont cut it. China Mobiles 570 Million subs on a GSM/TD-SCDMA network is looking pretty good right now.
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post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Where is it available? At what price?

They do exist. I saw a few M8s in St. Maarten. I think they were around $400 USD.
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post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

got sued by Appleson!

Apple-san would be Japanese not Chinese.

In the Chinese culture it is common for several companies to take the design of a leader in the space (for example all the small telecoms logos ape the largest telecom company). For them its an accepted practice almost like imitation is a high form of respect?

So even tho I can understand why they do it, they can't compete on the international stage this way, and need to respect international intellectual property much more.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayparry View Post

For them its an accepted practice almost like imitation is a high form of respect?

Let's not forget that the West did not exactly pay them royalties for paper, gunpowder, ceramics, Delft-ware, noodles (pasta), etc.

They must have had very high respect for the Chinese back then!
post #15 of 67
Don't think M8 looks anything like the iPhone. I remember seeing some web site that had a phone looking exactly like the iPhone, albeit with fake and crappy software inside, that's who they should have went after.
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post #16 of 67
Here us a macbook air clone on ebay, wonder who makes it?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Not-Macbook-Air-...item20b4302f69
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's not forget that the West did not exactly pay them royalties for paper, gunpowder, ceramics, Delft-ware, noodles (pasta), etc.

They must have had very high respect for the Chinese back then!

By the time the west copied those items they had been in production for more than 17 years already. The patents would have expired by then so no royalties were due.
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's not forget that the West did not exactly pay them royalties for paper, gunpowder, ceramics, Delft-ware, noodles (pasta), etc.

They must have had very high respect for the Chinese back then!

Wow. That was a deep reach into the 'everything is the West's fault' bag.
post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Wow. That was a deep reach into the 'everything is the West's fault' bag.

What if it wasnt intentional but occidental.
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post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What if it wasnt intentional but occidental.

It was somewhat disorienting.
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post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

It was somewhat disorienting.

I was talking to someone just last week that thinks the term Oriental and Orient are both derogatory, I pointed out the origin of the term meaning ‘east' or more accurately ‘to rise’ as in the rising sun but they didn’t care. It’s wrong because we think it’s wrong and any original meaning or non-derogatory usage doesn’t make it not wrong.

I asked if Far East was wrong’ they said no. I asked if the Japanese word for Japan, Nippon, which means land of the rising sun was wrong; they said no. I honestly don’t get how we can have these emotional responses to words that are just scribbles on a page or vibrations in the air even when the meaning isn’t offensive.
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post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Its like a guy who shoot up a bus full of children and then claims police brutality when hes finally apprehended. Or one of those idiots that call the police when someone took their stolen goods.

This does make me wonder if Apple is really pushing into China hard now. They apparently have 25 more stores plans and tells me that China Unicom and China Telecom just wont cut it. China Mobiles 570 Million subs on a GSM/TD-SCDMA network is looking pretty good right now.

But apple has not pushed enough into this market
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's not forget that the West did not exactly pay them royalties for paper, gunpowder, ceramics, Delft-ware, noodles (pasta), etc.

They must have had very high respect for the Chinese back then!

The way they pay respect is by patenting them in the stupid patenting system and claiming that it was they who made it.
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by samban View Post

But apple has not pushed enough into this market

Its the number of cellular customers a country has but how many purchases a company can realistically gain from that country. it seems to me that China has a lot more potential customers with a less hurdles now. They manufacturer the phones there, they have 2 stores and they have the largest single carrier in the world with 570 million subs practically begging for the iPhone.

On top of that, Indias largest carrier, Bharti Airtel, only has EDGE data as far as I tell and is smaller than Chinas 2nd largest carrier. Apples official partners in India are about on part with China Unicom, but I still dont think either has any real UMTS network and from the last time I was there the prices were outrageous for anytime non-Indian. Even a Nokia phone cost $900 USD when i could get it elsewhere for half that price. The iPhone hadnt gotten there yet hence my lack of a direct comparison.

Im not saying India should be ignored, and its not being ignored as there are two carriers officially selling the iPhone, but the market doesnt seem as good as China with a thriving economy and a culture that is changing and with great interest in Western goods. It doesnt make one better or worse than the other, but it makes one better and worse from Apples business perspective at the moment.
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post #25 of 67
Is it just me, or is this phone merely as similar to the iPhone as half the Android phones out there?
Meizu is just easier to sue, I guess, having no patents of their own.
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I was talking to someone just last week that thinks the term Oriental and Orient are both derogatory, I pointed out the origin of the term meaning east' or more accurately to rise as in the rising sun but they didnt care. Its wrong because we think its wrong and any original meaning or non-derogatory usage doesnt make it not wrong.

I asked if Far East was wrong they said no. I asked if the Japanese word for Japan, Nippon, which means land of the rising sun was wrong; they said no. I honestly dont get how we can have these emotional responses to words that are just scribbles on a page or vibrations in the air even when the meaning isnt offensive.

Yeah. and faggot just means a bundle of sticks. I don't know why people keep getting upset when I use that term...

The emotional impact of a term gets tied in with it't usage often at a particular time in history.

The N-word ultimately just means "black" yet I doubt many would question it's inappropriateness regardless of whether the person using it intends it to be pejorative.

Once I learned that the term "oriental" was considered inappropriate by a number of people, I dropped it--like you pointed out, there are other, acceptable terms that have the same root meaning without the emotional baggage...
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post #27 of 67
Back on topic, did anyone notice from the engadget gallery that it runs Flash? I wonder how this phone runs and what it's battery life is...
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post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's not forget that the West did not exactly pay them royalties for paper, gunpowder, ceramics, Delft-ware, noodles (pasta), etc.

They must have had very high respect for the Chinese back then!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Wow. That was a deep reach into the 'everything is the West's fault' bag.

Easy to go deeper.
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Yeah. and faggot just means a bundle of sticks. I don't know why people keep getting upset when I use that term...

The emotional impact of a term gets tied in with it't usage often at a particular time in history.

The N-word ultimately just means "black" yet I doubt many would question it's inappropriateness regardless of whether the person using it intends it to be pejorative.

Once I learned that the term "oriental" was considered inappropriate by a number of people, I dropped it--like you pointed out, there are other, acceptable terms that have the same root meaning without the emotional baggage...


<off topic>
So you recognize that plain, inoffensive words become emotionally loaded after being used by bigots to offend. This leads to every word having the potential to be offensive merely because people are prejudiced and hateful. As a result, politically correct terms change over time because they start to be associated with the offensive concepts they were initially meant to mask. It is thus not the words that we need to go after but the hate and prejudice themselves, as use of words considered offensive does not necessarily correlate with contempt for the object described by those words.

If you refuse to take offense when being called by an otherwise inoffensive but potentially loaded word, then it loses its power; it is also more respectful to whoever used the word, giving them the benefit of the doubt. To be able to not take offense though requires some discipline, dignity and self-respect.

</off topic>


Back on topic, I wonder what the actual patents that Meizu infringed upon are...
post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Where is it available? At what price?

No idea, that's why I asked. However, for Apple to take action I would assume it is not vaporware.
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post #31 of 67
Shock of the day: That there is actually a "China's Intellectual Property Office" at all. How big are they and who has been paying them off up until now?

At least now we know how Apple will need to spend their massive cash reserves... bribery to gain access to the Chinese market!

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post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post

Is it just me, or is this phone merely as similar to the iPhone as half the Android phones out there?
Meizu is just easier to sue, I guess, having no patents of their own.

This is exactly what I was thinking too.
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

This is exactly what I was thinking too.

I wholeheartedly disagree with both of you. Android may have followed Apple's lead into the multitouch phone world but I can't see anything that tried to make it look like an iPhone knockoff. If you look at Meizu, their entire focus since 2007 (or earlier if you include the iPod) is to mimic the iPhone look and feel as much as possible with using weak engineerimg talent, low-grade materials and WinCE as foundation.
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post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's not forget that the West did not exactly pay them royalties for paper, gunpowder, ceramics, Delft-ware, noodles (pasta), etc....

I know you're probably just joking, but lots of peoples invented paper of one kind of another, Delft pottery is just a type of ceramics, and ceramics itself was discovered long before the Chinese.
post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

This is exactly what I was thinking too.

The original Meizu 8 was identical to the iPhone in almost every respect right down to the icons. Then as Apple or anyone complained about this that or the other thing and as it became apparent they were going to be taken to court eventually, they slowly changed the design on each point so as to avoid (they hope) being found guilty. They were also very angry, argumentative and combative about it all along the way. Most of the changes were very subtle and therefore wouldn't really save their ass in court. At almost the last minute, they came out with this final design which is significantly changed to resemble an Android phone.

We shall see whether it saves their ass of not, but I'm sure there are specific areas where they are probably still in violation of the law. I'm not sure if *intent* has anything to do with these cases, but it's pretty clear their intent all along has been to directly copy the iPhone and as has been said above, they probably think it's their right and that they aren't doing anything wrong by doing so. I'm pretty sure I remember the head of the company saying something similar and directly admitting to copying and how it should be okay to so so etc.

This company is about as blatant a violator of IP rights as you would be able to find on the world stage and if Apple can't sue them and win they can't really sue anyone I would think. Sadly, it looks like they might not win at this stage.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

When you check out the Meizu website you have to wonder what these guys were thinking and just how long they thought they would get away with copying the Apple look and feel.

Even the way they have the headphones designed and just check out the M8 spec page. Looks like it was copied directly from Apple.

To be honest, they must have the technical know how to slap the phone together but must lack even a single creative idea of their own, which is quite sad.

here is a link to a video review mp4 nation did for it last year: http://mp4nation.net/blog/2009/02/me...-video-review/

Here is a link to an engadget gallery for the Meizo M9 interface which is even more like the iphone even down to the cut and paste function. http://cn.engadget.com/photos/meizu-m9-new-ui-0/

Back in the mid 1990's I worked for a company that did business in mainland China. People would come back with copies of software that retailed for thousands of dollars, yet the street cost in China was $50.00. It was amazing. And the copies worked. So I am not surprised that there are good. Knock off phones in China.
post #37 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I know you're probably just joking, but lots of peoples invented paper of one kind of another, Delft pottery is just a type of ceramics, and ceramics itself was discovered long before the Chinese.

Ah, the victors always get to write the correct version of history too.
post #38 of 67
Gee let me see - my heart bleeds for the Chinese copy cats who steal Apple's (and thus mine since I am a shareholder) intelletual property and then express frustration at Apple being "unreasonable" ? What the f..k are they MORONS?

Yes they MORONS!

Who is a Moron? The Chinese are.

JDS
post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Ah, the victors always get to write the correct version of history too.

very true indeed.

Last I heard however, China is more likely to eventually conquer the west than the other way around. I think this lawsuit likely to go in Meizu's favour also, despite what it looks like now.

I think the real win for Apple here is just using the lawyers to delay the sales of this thing. When Meizu started, it was a total copy of the 3G that was just out and at that time they *led* the MP3 player market in that part of the world (admittedly with iPod clone products). It then took them two years to come to market with this thing because of Apple's constant objections and legal questions and in that time the iPhone has come to China already and their position in the market has completely deteriorated.

So I think Apple might even lose this suit, but the tactics are such that Meizu might end up going under for financial reasons anyway which is probably Apple's goal here. I think this is kind of sad given that the current Meizu is hardly any more infringing than current Android copies of iPhones.

All part of the long journey of getting the two cultures to play nice I guess. We are all going to be one people someday anyway, so there has to be some kind of world-wide agreement on these things at some point.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I wholeheartedly disagree with both of you. Android may have followed Apple's lead into the multitouch phone world but I can't see anything that tried to make it look like an iPhone knockoff. If you look at Meizu, their entire focus since 2007 (or earlier if you include the iPod) is to mimic the iPhone look and feel as much as possible with using weak engineerimg talent, low-grade materials and WinCE as foundation.

i agree. its like the old 'windows copied apple' from years ago. never once sat down at a windows os machine and mistook it for an apple. same with an android phone.
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