Teen behind white iPhone 4 kits learned of Apple's lawsuit through media reports

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The New York high school student who made thousands of dollars selling unauthorized white iPhone 4 conversion kits said in an interview that he learned of Apple's lawsuit against him through media reports.



Apple filed and simultaneously dismissed a lawsuit against Fei Lik "Phillip" Lam and his parents in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York earlier this week. The suit accuses Lam of "infringing and diluting Apple's famous trademarks" by selling parts for the then-unreleased white iPhone 4.



"Defendant at all times knew that Apple has never authorized the sale of white panels for its iPhone 4 mobile devices, and that he obtained these parts from sources that were not authorized by Apple or any of its suppliers to sell them," the complaint read.



However, in an interview with Fast Company, Lam admitted on Thursday that he first learned of the suit through the media. "Don't know if I should talk about it but I found out about the suit from the news," he said.



Lam also admitted that, contrary to earlier reports, he didn't make $130,000 from selling the conversion kits. When questioned whether his parents were upset when they learned of the lawsuit, Lam said they were "a bit upset."



In his defense, Lam asserts that he purchased the parts from a Chinese businessman, not from Foxconn directly. Foxconn issued a statement last year denying that its workers had sold any parts to Lam.







Though Lam and Apple have yet to reach a settlement, he is scheduled to meet with the company's lawyers in New York "within the next month."



Lam took his website offline after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Apple last December. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak admitted that he "got in quick" to purchase a kit from the site before it was taken down.



After production challenges caused a 10-month delay, Apple released the white iPhone 4 in April. The device has been particularly popular in Asia, selling out within hours in several countries in the region. In China, a scuffle took place over the white iPhone 4 after alleged scalpers attempted to cut into a line for the smartphone.







Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities sees the device as having a "certain mystique and scarcity value." He predicts Apple could sell as many as 1.5 million units of the white iPhone 4 per quarter until the launch of the next-generation iPhone arrives.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,405member
    I recall some here rhapsodizing about Wozniak as possible Apple CEO post-Jobs.

  • Reply 2 of 22
    akhosrofakhosrof Posts: 11member
    The kid sounds pretty savy to me, maybe Apple should offer him a job.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The New York high school student who made thousands of dollars selling unauthorized white iPhone 4 conversion kits said in an interview that he learned of Apple's lawsuit against him through media reports.



    Apple filed and simultaneously dismissed a lawsuit against Fei Lik "Phillip" Lam and his parents in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York earlier this week. The suit accuses Lam of "infringing and diluting Apple's famous trademarks" by selling parts for the then-unreleased white iPhone 4.



    "Defendant at all times knew that Apple has never authorized the sale of white panels for its iPhone 4 mobile devices, and that he obtained these parts from sources that were not authorized by Apple or any of its suppliers to sell them," the complaint read.



    However, in an interview with Fast Company, Lam admitted on Thursday that he first learned of the suit through the media. "Don't know if I should talk about it but I found out about the suit from the news," he said.



    I doubt this is true or possibly his parents knew but didn't tell him/



    Lam also admitted that, contrary to earlier reports, he didn't make $130,000 from selling the conversion kits. When questioned whether his parents were upset when they learned of the lawsuit, Lam said they were "a bit upset."



    In his defense, Lam asserts that he purchased the parts from a Chinese businessman, not from Foxconn directly. Foxconn issued a statement last year denying that its workers had sold any parts to Lam.



    Regardless of where he got the parts, they had Apple's logo on them so they were counterfeits.







    Though Lam and Apple have yet to reach a settlement, he is scheduled to meet with the company's lawyers in New York "within the next month."



    Lam took his website offline after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Apple last December. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak admitted that he "got in quick" to purchase a kit from the site before it was taken down.



    After production challenges caused a 10-month delay, Apple released the white iPhone 4 in April. The device has been particularly popular in Asia, selling out within hours in several countries in the region. In China, a scuffle took place over the white iPhone 4 after alleged scalpers attempted to cut into a line for the smartphone.







    Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities sees the device as having a "certain mystique and scarcity value." He predicts Apple could sell as many as 1.5 million units of the white iPhone 4 per quarter until the launch of the next-generation iPhone arrives.



    Very fortunate that Apple went easy on him.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akhosrof View Post


    The kid sounds pretty savy to me, maybe Apple should offer him a job.



    Yeah and then the kid could sell trade secrets to the highest bidder.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1984 View Post


    Yeah and then the kid could sell trade secrets to the highest bidder.



    Yeah, putting the Apple logo on the parts was stupid, he could have just sold a nice looking white replacement case and I can't imagine there would have been anything illegal about it at all. Or at least if the law in general made any sense...
  • Reply 6 of 22
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrstep View Post


    Yeah, putting the Apple logo on the parts was stupid, he could have just sold a nice looking white replacement case and I can't imagine there would have been anything illegal about it at all. Or at least if the law in general made any sense...



    What do you mean "putting"? These were legit parts. The logo was there. He didn't put it there and he couldn't remove it.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    However, in an interview with Fast Company, Lam admitted on Thursday that he first learned of the suit through the media. "Don't know if I should talk about it but I found out about the suit from the news," he said.





    He is either lying or more likely because he is a minor his parents were served the paperwork and didn't tell him. But, assuming all this talk is actual fact, Apple informed him of the suit. Otherwise it is not valid





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrstep View Post


    Yeah, putting the Apple logo on the parts was stupid, he could have just sold a nice looking white replacement case and I can't imagine there would have been anything illegal about it at all.





    The logo is not the only issue. If at any point he used the terms Apple or iPhone to sell this item then he was also trading with Apple trademark's which he was not authorized to use.



    Also if Chinese law is anything like US he was dealing in stolen goods
  • Reply 8 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,752member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I recall some here rhapsodizing about Wozniak as possible Apple CEO post-Jobs.





    Chief Goofball would be a polite title for him.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    If we accuse this kid of paying for stolen goods then we must also accuse Woz of this crime. Surely Woz would know about authentic Apple products than anyone yet I think we’ve seen him flaunt his stolen kit in public, perhaps even outside an Apple Store before an event.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member
    Apple put a halt to the kid's business with the suit. They had to protect their interest, but this legal case will be a no show. Apple PR surely wants nothing to do with prosecuting some teenager. Enjoy the brief hoopla while it last guys. This case is going nowhere. Apple will never press it. Nor will they allow an Apple Cofounder, the "Woz," to be dragged into a legal battle over this issue.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    If we accuse this kid of paying for stolen goods then we must also accuse Woz of this crime. Surely Woz would know about authentic Apple products than anyone yet I think we?ve seen him flaunt his stolen kit in public, perhaps even outside an Apple Store before an event.



    It's not solely about purchasing questionable goods but desalting them.



    I'd love to know how a teenager found a Chinese business man with legit white iPhone parts many months in advance.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    If we accuse this kid of paying for stolen goods then we must also accuse Woz of this crime. Surely Woz would know about authentic Apple products than anyone yet I think we’ve seen him flaunt his stolen kit in public, perhaps even outside an Apple Store before an event.



    Of course.



    Just one more reason why Woz has no more significant role at Apple. He's got no concept of intellectual property or even ethics.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Of course.



    Just one more reason why Woz has no more significant role at Apple. He's got no concept of intellectual property or even ethics.



    Hilarious.



    Oh, you were serious? HA!
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Claiming he didn't know about the suit against him, yet he received a cease and desist letter last year. Whatch me as a I call 'bull' on his story.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,819member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I recall some here rhapsodizing about Wozniak as possible Apple CEO post-Jobs.





    LOL... first thing that would happen: Woz spends Apple's $50 billion cash surplus, all at once on something frivolous and whimsical.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    zeke7zeke7 Posts: 1member
    Bang! Bang! Steve Job's Applehammer

    came down on poor Fei's head.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    It's not solely about purchasing questionable goods but desalting them.



    I'd love to know how a teenager found a Chinese business man with legit white iPhone parts many months in advance.



    If he didn't buy the parts from Apple, even if they are identical, they were not legit. The parts source had no legal rights to selling 'Apple' parts to third parties even if they manufactured them.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    What do you mean "putting"? These were legit parts. The logo was there. He didn't put it there and he couldn't remove it.



    If he didn't buy the parts from Apple, even if they are identical, they were not legit. The parts source had no legal rights to selling 'Apple' parts to third parties even if they manufactured them and he was not authorized to buy and resell 'Apple' parts either.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Realistic View Post


    If he didn't buy the parts from Apple, even if they are identical, they were not legit. The parts source had no legal rights to selling 'Apple' parts to third parties even if they manufactured them and he was not authorized to buy and resell 'Apple' parts either.



    In China the people are so poor there is a huge black market. Actually if you search the internet you will find parts for almost any Apple computer. what goes out one door as finished goods in the factory. out the back door go the parts for anyone to buy. So this is no big news he got the parts from someone in China wanting to unload apple parts. the kid caught thats all.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    It's not solely about purchasing questionable goods but desalting them.



    I'd love to know how a teenager found a Chinese business man with legit white iPhone parts many months in advance.



    Didn't he start selling kits after Apple announced a delay in the white iPhone release? My guess is that these were white casings manufactured for Apple, but when Apple found problems in the design, the contractor was left holding the bag. Either they didn't destroy the parts as Apple ordered, or somebody sneaked them out. Another possibility is that it's the classic Chinese practice of making a few extra for yourself to sell when you're contracted to make the originals. After all, they already have access to the tooling.
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