Apple claims huge swaths of 'genuine' accessories on Amazon are counterfeit in new lawsuit [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2016
Apple has filed a lawsuit against a vendor called Mobile Star, accusing it of violating copyrights and trademarks by selling counterfeit accessories on Amazon and Groupon. Coincidentally, the iPhone maker claimed that a large chunk of supposedly genuine Apple accessories sold on Amazon are fake. [Updated with Amazon statement]




The suit specifically targets 5-watt USB power adapters and Lightning-to-USB cables sold by Mobile Star, according to court documents from the U.S. District Court for the Northner District of California, highlighted by Patently Apple. Apple argued that the products are not only counterfeit, but a potential safety hazard, since they have problems like inadequate insulation or too little spacing between low- and high-voltage circuits.

Apple said that it discovered the issue with Mobile Star's gear as part of its regular efforts to combat fake accessories. Notably, it made a specific claim that in the last nine months, it bought "well over 100 iPhone devices, Apple power products, and Lightning cables sold as genuine" through Amazon's "Fulfillment by Amazon" program, and found that almost 90 percent of them were inauthentic.

Although Apple earlier contacted Amazon and got Mobile Star's selling privileges revoked, it charges that Mobile Star is continuing to infringe, in fact selling 10 products to Apple through Groupon last December. More recently an Apple investigator was able to buy fake EarPods and Lightning cables via direct sale, even though Mobile Star had already been contacted by Apple about its activities.

As compensation Apple is asking for up to $2 million per infringed trademark, plus up to $150,000 for each violated copyright.

Update: Amazon provided the following statement to AppleInsider:

"Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively."
sockrolid1stSpamSandwich
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,151member
    Good move on Apple's part. This is despicable, and Amazon should take alot of the blame for allowing this garbage masquerading as authentic Apple products. 
    mike1sockrolidlondorThe_Watcheranton zuykovdasanman69lollivertyler82dysamoriaration al
  • Reply 2 of 39
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    I wonder why Apple doesn't put their logo on the chargers and cables.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 39
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    I would never buy products listed as genuine from third party sellers on Amazon unless you can verify they are authorized resellers. 
    edited October 2016 sockrolidpscooter63londorsuddenly newtonSpamSandwichration al
  • Reply 4 of 39
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,885member
    volcan said:
    I wonder why Apple doesn't put their logo on the chargers and cables.
    Wouldn't stop counterfeiters anyway.
    sockrolidmwhitechiaindyfxdysamoria[Deleted User]
  • Reply 5 of 39
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,885member
    I bought a bunch of Lightning cables from Woot (an Amazon subsidiary) believing they would be genuine as advertised. Only one of the three cables worked. I received a credit for the others, but I wouldn't buy from them again. Ironically, Amazon's Amazon Basic Lightning cables have always worked great.
  • Reply 6 of 39
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,959member
    Law should allow individual buyers to sue sellers who claim on the web site as genuine product but than sell counterfeit products(to make money) to rip off people/customers.
    lolliverdysamoria
  • Reply 7 of 39
    slurpy said:
    Good move on Apple's part. This is despicable, and Amazon should take alot of the blame for allowing this garbage masquerading as authentic Apple products. 
    So you want Amazon to personally certify everything sold? From the OP they removed selling privileges when informed by Apple. Which seems to be a good action.
    afrodri
  • Reply 8 of 39
    zebrazebra Posts: 35member
    Ok to buy books and other such commodities on Amazon. But electronics are another matter. The same problem exists on eBay and the like. I buy my Apple electronics from well-respected vendors like OWC, ProMax, MacMall and so forth rather than Apple to avoid sales tax. The warranties offered by these entities are proven. They must guard their reputations as primarily focused on Apple products. Not so with Amazon.
    dysamoriaration alronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 39
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,854member
    mike1 said:
    I bought a bunch of Lightning cables from Woot (an Amazon subsidiary) believing they would be genuine as advertised. Only one of the three cables worked. I received a credit for the others, but I wouldn't buy from them again. Ironically, Amazon's Amazon Basic Lightning cables have always worked great.
    Really? There are a bunch of Amazon Basic Lightning cord reviews with pics of melted units. On a side note  I've purchased several off brands of supposed MFi certified Lightning cables usually to have some barely working to begin with and he rest failing after several uses.  All garbage. Figured the same would be true with the Amazon ones but even more wary of those because of the melting incidents. 


    sockrolidlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 39
    I would never buy products listed as genuine from third party sellers on Amazon unless you can verify they are authorized resellers. 
    Note that these cables were purchased from Amazon form a third party, but were listed as "ships from and sold by Amazon.com"
    edited October 2016 sockrolidlondoranton zuykovlolliverafrodriwatto_cobranolamacguy
  • Reply 11 of 39
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    wood1208 said:
    Law should allow individual buyers to sue sellers who claim on the web site as genuine product but than sell counterfeit products(to make money) to rip off people/customers.
    You can sue anyone for any reason in small claims court, but you'll only get a refund at best. You buy a $9.99 charger then pay out of your own pocket to file a complaint, only to get $9.99 refund, if you are lucky. Not a very good use of your time. Better to pay $38 and just order from Apple directly.
    edited October 2016 mike1anton zuykovlolliverafrodridysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 39
    dacloodacloo Posts: 890member
    That's what you get if you create a propriety system and scam users with overpriced cables. 
    And that's what you get if you remove the jack port that nobody asked for, so that they control that market space too with expensive third-party licensing fees and premium first-party devices.

    singularity
  • Reply 13 of 39
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Apple has filed a lawsuit against a vendor called Mobile Star, accusing it of violating copyrights and trademarks by selling counterfeit accessories on Amazon and Groupon. 
    Finally.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 39
    slurpy said:
    Good move on Apple's part. This is despicable, and Amazon should take alot of the blame for allowing this garbage masquerading as authentic Apple products. 
    So you want Amazon to personally certify everything sold? From the OP they removed selling privileges when informed by Apple. Which seems to be a good action.
    This is the kind of thing that people globally -- including in this site, IIRC -- were excoriating Alibaba for. That company had to make major changes to the way it does business. (See, for example: http://www.wsj.com/articles/alibaba-under-fire-from-global-product-brands-over-counterfeits-1466005050). Similarly, Google does it (and many others do it) with its division (and others with their like divisions) such as Youtube all the time.

    Amazon can't sell counterfeits. Period. Leaving aside issues of reputation, it could be held liable.
    edited October 2016 londorredraider11pscooter63lolliverdysamoriaration alronn
  • Reply 15 of 39
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,692member
    Amazon needs to better job of preventing counterfeit products being sold on their marketplace. 
    londorlolliverdysamoriaration alronnnolamacguy
  • Reply 16 of 39
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,692member
    dacloo said:
    That's what you get if you create a propriety system and scam users with overpriced cables. 
    And that's what you get if you remove the jack port that nobody asked for, so that they control that market space too with expensive third-party licensing fees and premium first-party devices.

    Really, troll? I get reputable third party cables from reputable stores. 

    Wireless headphones do exist already and
    Apple doesn't get a dime on them (unless Apple/Beats branded, obviously). 

    Apple includes a dongle for free. Any wired headphone can use it. Again, Apple doesn't get a dime for them. 

    No one asked for a touch screen phone, an on-screen keyboard, regular OS updates, etc. yet here we are. 
    Bluntlondorpscooter63anton zuykovindyfxlolliverdysamoriadewmeration albrucemc
  • Reply 17 of 39
    BluntBlunt Posts: 223member
    dacloo said:
    And that's what you get if you remove the jack port that nobody asked for.


    Well nobody asked for your opnion so why do you give it?
    londorRayz2016lolliverdysamoriaronnbestkeptsecretwatto_cobrabadmonk
  • Reply 18 of 39
    This is a permanent problem that won't ever be addressed by catching violators one-by-one. The incentives to cheat are too strong, and consumers don't know about the risks they are taking with their devices (and lives) until it is too late.

    Apple should develop an iOS app that runs a few diagnostic tests on accessories plugged into iPhone (iPad) ports, then reports on what it discovers -- voltage, frequency, electronic chips, etc. The app should distinguish beteeen genuine Apple parts and fakes. After the findings of the port analysis, the app could provide safety-risk assessments, possible warranty violations and a link to order genuine parts (or a map showing local vendors). Apple could rely on regional, national and international summaries to identify new bootleg accessories as they hit the market.

    To maximize its value as a diagnostic-help tool, Apple should not use the results of this app to identify or sanction individual users for using unauthorized accessories, except in lawsuits where it would be available to both parties.
    anantksundaramfotoformatration al
  • Reply 19 of 39
    irelandireland Posts: 17,587member
    Next up: MacKeeper. The Russian gagsters.
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 20 of 39
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,684member
    Apparently Amazon has created an environment for sellers that makes distributing counterfeit goods easy and relatively safe.  There have been a number of articles chronicling their practices and lackluster efforts to curb the fraud.  Wall Street Journal had a big one two years ago.  The big problem arises when you consider that most people trust the Amazon brand - it's everywhere.  So when they go there to shop, it feels safe and secure because of their ubiquitous branding.  If Amazon had made any real effort to remove and punish seller who sell fake goods that would be great, but they haven't done that.  Banning one seller because Apple asked them to doesn't amount to much.  In fact, Amazon may have created a system so convoluted and screwy that it is nearly impossible for them to do anything about the issue.  I've been making an effort to buy more locally sold goods and have often found them at the same or similar price.  It used to be Amazon was cheaper most of the time, but not anymore.
    dysamoriaration alronnwatto_cobrabadmonk
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