updated 12:50 pm EDT, Fri August 19, 2011
Complaints kept quiet to allow confiscation
Apple is suing the operators of two stores in New York City accused of selling counterfeit accessories, Reuters reports. Although the trademark infringement case was originally filed on July 25th, it was only unsealed yesterday after a Reuters request. US laws allow a company to file a trademark infringement suit under seal so that counterfeiters can't thwart seizure operations.
Both of the stores -- Apple Story and Fun Zone -- are located in the Chinatown section of Queens, and owned by Janie Po Chiang. Named as a co-defendant is Fun Zone manager Jimmy Kwok. Apple says it sent representatives to the stores on "multiple occasions over several weeks," where they bought iPod, iPhone and iPad cases as well as headphones. All of the goods acquired are alleged to have had Apple trademarks and other similar markings, to the extent of including the common "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China" tagline. The headphone packaging is "nearly an exact duplicate," Apple alleges.
Seizure warrants were executed on July 27th, and Apple has scored a preliminary injunction barring sales of any more counterfeit goods. Apple's lawsuit also demands that Apple Story change its name, but no ruling has been made. Other Apple demands include triple monetary damages, a list of everyone who has bought or sold counterfeit goods, and destruction of any remaining illegal stock.
A court order has granted Apple access to the stores' business email accounts, which could see allegations brought against more defendants. The current parties are nevertheless said to be working on a settlement agreement.