Apple temporarily shuts down alleged copycat shops

A federal judge has granted Apple's request for a preliminary injunction and issued a temporary restraining against several retailers for infringing Apple's trademark, according to court documents.

Share

A federal judge has granted Apple's request for a preliminary injunction and issued a temporary restraining against several retailers for infringing Apple's trademark, according to court documents.

On July 25, Apple filed a complaint that named three companies, two individuals and 50 "John Does," in the lawsuit.

Two of the firms, Apple Story and Fun Zone, match the name of stores in New York state. The two are represented in court by Samuel Chuang. Fun Zone and Chuang did not reply to requests for comment, and Apple Story was unavailable for comment.

China copycats

Apple Story may have come to the attention of Apple because of the efforts of a blogger known as "BirdAbroad," who last month revealed a copycat store in Kunming, China that went to great lengths to duplicate Apple retail stores' look and feel.

After soliciting more photos from her readers, on July 23 BirdAbroad posted images of several other Apple lookalikes, including one in the US with a sign that read "Apple Story".

Within days, Chinese authorities announced that they had closed two unauthorised stores in the country for operating without a business licence, but allowed several others to remain open.

Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southwest China, does not have a legitimate Apple retail store. Currently, Apple has only four company-owned stores in the country, two in Beijing and two in Shanghai.

Apple gets litigious

Details on the lawsuit are scanty because all case documents remain sealed, available only to the court and the parties' counsels. Yesterday, however, judge Kiyo Matsumoto granted a preliminary injunction against the defendants and simultaneously issued a temporary restraining order.

Typically, a preliminary injunction and the resulting retraining order bar the recipient from continuing questionable conduct until the underlying case has been decided. In a trademark dispute, the results of such an injunction and order would likely prevent the defendant from using the trademark, forcing him to change signage or even modify his business.

From the photo posted by BirdAbroad, Apple Story appears to be a smartphone accessories outlet. On Facebook, Fun Zone bills itself as a mobile phone repair shop.

Matsumoto has scheduled a hearing for August 12 to listen to arguments from Apple and the defendants' attorney about whether the temporary restraining order should be extended.

"Recommended For You"

Apple must wait for December for Samsung injunction hearing Injunction to stop iPad sales in Shanghai Apple store rejected in China