Just last month, investigators found an unauthorized Apple retailer in Kunming, China after an American living in the city blogged about the store’s products. The fake Apple store imitated a legitimate Apple store, right on down to the white walls, wood display tables, and employees with Apple t-shirts.
The reselling of Apple devices and other brands/products in China has become more and more common due to the fact that these items can be purchased for a cheaper price in other countries and smuggled into China to escape taxes.
While Chinese law protects trademarks and bans the act of mimicking a company’s “look,” consistent enforcement is a problem. In fact, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office named China one of the worst violators at preventing copyright theft for the seventh consecutive year. Other Western countries have agreed that China is not doing enough to eliminate intellectual property theft.
After the Kunming store was identified, authorities inspected 300 additional stores in the city and managed to locate 22 more fake Apple retailers. It was unclear if these shops were selling legitimate, smuggled Apple products or knock-offs.
These unauthorized Apple retailers have been forced to stop using Apple’s logo, and a complaint hotline along with increased monitoring is being put into place to prevent any further reselling of Apple products.
Apple China has accused the fake Apple retailers of violating its registered trademark and of unfair competition as well.
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