19 October 2016Trademarks

Apple bites online seller in trademark suit

Technology company Apple has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against online retailer Mobile Star.

Filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, October 17, Apple’s suit accused Mobile Star of selling “dangerous” counterfeit power adapters and charging cables through Amazon.com.

According to the filing, Mobile Star also supplied Groupon with the counterfeits, which Apple believes “pose an immediate threat to consumer safety”.

Apple said that, unlike its genuine products, the counterfeits “are not subjected to industry-standard consumer safety testing and are poorly constructed with inferior or missing components, flawed design, and inadequate electrical insulation”.

The technology company said that it had recently purchased a number of Apple power adapters and charging and syncing cables that were directly sold by Amazon.com, and determined that they were counterfeit.

“Amazon.com informed Apple that Mobile Star was its source for the majority of these counterfeit Apple products,” said the filing.

Apple owns a number of trademarks, which include ‘Apple’ and the logo of an apple with a bite taken out of it.

“The safety of Apple’s customers is of paramount importance to Apple, and Apple devotes significant resources to ensuring its power products meet industry safety standards and are subjected to rigorous testing for safety and reliability,” said the suit.

Apple added that it makes “great efforts to combat the distribution and sale of counterfeit Apple products”.

Despite these efforts, “fake Apple products continue to flood Amazon.com”, and the technology company is concerned that “consumers will erroneously come to think that Apple’s products are of inferior quality and lose trust in the Apple brand”.

Apple is seeking injunctive relief, destruction of all counterfeit products, statutory and punitive damages, triple damages, all profits from the unlawful acts, and fees.

A spokesperson for Amazon.com said: "The company has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.”

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