Cupertino (CA) – It appears that Apple’s legal team is gearing up to dessicate the continuing flood of iPhone clones, especially those that are available on the Chinese market and are making their way to Europe and the U.S. through black and grey market channels.
“Boy, have we patented it,” said Steve Jobs during his January MacWorld keynote, indicating that the iPhone is covered with patents – highlighting that the company has learned for previous mistakes and lack of patents protecting its products. The aggressive strategy has worked out well in general. The copying of new features and everything that goes beyond a big touchscreen with flashy icons has been somewhat limited.
However, China saw a myriad of iPhone clones, which came up with almost exact copies – including the Apple logo – of the device within a few months after the iPhone’s launch. Apparently, even the software feature set comes close to the iPhone in some clones. Read this RedFerret article to get a closer idea how these clones look like and what they are able to do.
Some stores selling these phones are reporting that Apple recently got much more serious about iPhone clones. Simon Rimmer, managing director of UK reseller Digital Playground said that Apple came with “all guns blazing” and “big bully boy tactics”. Apple’s legal team sent a letter, threatening with legal action. According to Apple, cloned iPhones made available through Rimmer created “the same overall impression as Apple’s registered design”. By importing, marketing and offering cloned iPhones, the reseller has infringed on the designs owned by Apple, the company said.
Somehow, we can’t blame Apple for this move.
Rimmer and Apple found an agreement before the case would have gone to court. That agreement not only stated that the he has to stop selling iPhone clones but also send Apple the remaining stocked phones, reveal how much he imported, his supplier as well as the prices and numbers of the cloned iPhones he offered and sold.