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Apple threatens European iPhone knockoff reseller

updated 12:30 am EDT, Mon May 12, 2008

iPhone knockoff threatened

Apple is going after the sellers of at least one iPhone knockoff, delivering a cease & desist to a HiPhone reseller in Europe. Apple Europe's legal counsel Bird & Bird has contacted the seller who sold the HiPhone knockoff on eBay and through his online shop, asking him to destroy the HiPhones currently in his inventory as well as provide a wealth of information related to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, and marketing of the HiPhone. Apple's letter threatens penalties of 25,000€ per HiPhone sold, if the seller does not comply.

The Hi-Phone, which surfaced earlier this year on Dragon Kicks, is a virtually exact hardware duplicate of the iPhone and offers almost identitical user interface, including the same touch/gesture interface, similar icon styling and placement, auto-sensing and adjustment of landscape/portrait display, and more. The knockoff even mimics Apple's iPhone packaging.

The HiPhone knockoff, however, offers some additional features that are not available from Apple, including a removable battery, support for dual SIM cards, and a microSD slot for memory expansion. The HiPhone, which is available unlocked (and therefore can be used on any network), offers a 3.5-inch touchscreen, triband GSM support, a speakerphone, and other iPhone-like features. It is available for now $219 (previously was $239) with a $15 charge for delivery direct from China, according to the website.

In addition, Apple's letter is seeking legal fees of about 13,500€, due sometime in the month of May.

Another iPhone knockoff, Meizu's much-delayed M8 (or MiniOne) smartphone, was also due to hit shelves earlier this year.


HiPhone clone mimics Apple's iPhone




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    One expensive letter...

    ...how can lawyers just 'demand' such an amount ? It continues to be a simply astounding profession to me... A compelling description I read recently was using the law for bullying rather than pursuing justice...

    It also sounds like there are some significant functionality improvements to the subject hardware design, irrespective of any possible dispute of copying... Perhaps Apple can cross license the design improvements...?

  1. SDW2001

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Previous Comment

    Wow..just when I think I've read the most absurd comments, bobolicious comes along. You SUPPORT the seller of the knock off? You think Apple should license functionality?!?! Good lord! This is a blatant violation of Apple's rights. They have every right to sue the pants off the seller. It's willful and malicious infringement. I mean really...you've got to be kidding me.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -9

    what?

    removable battery, sim card and sd slot are somehow unique enough to this knock off that apple should cross license this design "improvement"? this knock off has hardware features that are so unique, so rare, that apple should work with them?
    dispute of copying? what dispute?

  1. milkmage

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    @bobolicious

    are you kidding? 'demand' such an amount? what are you, the marketing director for dragon kicks? the ONLY reason they took the time to build something like this is to profit from someone else's work, therefore the ONLY way to seek 'justice' is to take away those profits. it boots with the apple logo.. that alone is enough to issue a C&D. Work with them? license features? a removable battery is so cutting edge apple needs to license the 'technology'.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    missing detail

    What's the knock-off running?

    Android, perhaps?

    If it's running WinCE like the other iPhone knockoff, well, a pox on both their houses.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    I can't understand...

    ...how a C D letter can accrue ~$20k in legal fees...?

    The relationship of the euro reseller to dragon kicks is unqualified & it may be like going after the corner store for selling cigarettes to get at the offshore tobacco company even though the cancer warnings are well known or even on the package...

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    K-nock off

    Unless Apple has some patents on the iPhone that are being infringed then it seems pretty hard for them to do anything about "knock-offs".

    I can't really see that they can protect the telecomms/internet aspects of the iPhone, Likewise with the interface (here's a row of icons that you can click!?).

    While you may think the iPhone is something pretty special, the fact is that most of it's elements exist elsewhere in other devices. All Apple has done is package it up.

    And this phone is better - why would anyone put a non-removable battery in a phone!?

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    logo

    Yes, if they are using the Apple logo that's clearly breach of trademark. Similar packaging? More difficult - seems that in some sectors that's just par for the course (ie own brand products in supermarkets mimicking the market leaders).

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    name

    h***, they could get them to c&d on hiphone. anyone remember lindows? if ms can win that then...

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    not the same

    Knockoffs: Comes with extremely small amount of storage. Made of cheap plastic instead of metal, scratch-resistant glass. Smaller, lower resolution LCD, Room for 12 icons instead of 16 icons. Slow processor.

    Poor performing touch screen (see video, sometimes have to touch more than once to do something).

    If I remember correctly, NO WIFI. No support. Someone at my work bought one, i LOL when it died in 6 weeks.

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