Apple suit targets alleged counterfeiters in New York

The lawsuit filed by Apple in New York last month that’s believed to be aiming at look-alike stores turns out to be much broader, with Apple alleging that the stores in question are also selling counterfeit Apple goods.

The suit, originally filed as a sealed document, was unsealed yesterday at the request of Reuters, which first reported on its contents. In an 18-page complaint, Apple takes aim at two stores in Flushing, N.Y.–Apple story and Fun Zone–requesting one to change its name, while accusing both of profiting by selling counterfeit Apple accessories.

“Defendants are improperly profiting from Apple’s tremendous investment in the Apple Trademarks andiPod,iPhone, andiPad mobile devices by incorporating, in whole or in part, the Apple Trademarks on counterfeit, infringing, and diluting cases and accessories for iPod, iPhone, and iPad mobile devices and by operating a store they have branded ‘Apple Story’ in which they sell these products,” the complaint said.

In the filing, Apple notes that it visited the two stores “on multiple occasions over several weeks,” and found a number of counterfeit goods. That includes iPhone, iPod, and iPad cases, as well as iPhone stereo headsets. Apple described the headphone packaging as “nearly an exact duplicate of genuine Apple packaging,” while noting that it appeared to use a color photocopy.

The complaint seeks to have Apple story change its name, as well as bar the stores from continuing to sell counterfeit goods. Reuters reports that Apple has already seized items that featured its trademarked logo and is now looking to get a list of everyone who bought those products, as well as having whatever goods left destroyed.

Apple’s brisk crackdown on the two stores runs parallel to efforts going on with look-alike Apple retail stores in China. Investigations by local officials in both the north and southeast regions of the country have resulted in local stores being required to refrain from using Apple’s logo unless they are authorized to do so. That follows high-profile coverage of a bogus Apple Store in Kunming, a city in southwest China, that mimicked the look and feel of Apple’s own retail stores, right down to employee wardrobe and interior design. That store in particular recently changed its name from “Apple Store” to the “Smart Store.”

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