back to article Apple sues over knock-off power bricks

Apple has sued a California company for alleging infringing a laptop AC-adapter patent granted to Cupertino in 2003. And they may have already won. Filed in federal court on Monday, the suit alleges that the California company, Media Solutions Holdings, infringes on Apple design patent entitled simply "Power adapter" which …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    They have you!

    They have you by the curlies, haven't they? When you spend that kind of money on a laptop, the last thing you need is some hooky power adapter blowing it sky-high and Apple refusing to repair it 'cos you used some £20 knock-off power adapter!

  2. Michael 10
    Jobs Halo

    Actually using a patent suit properly?

    This seems like one of the few situations where the the suit is 100% appropriate, they look identical, the knock-off even has the same little nubbins on the actual plug.

    Why anyone would actually want to knock off those outlet blocking precariously suspended eye-sores I will never know

  3. Sly
    FAIL

    totally agree with Michael 10

    if you're going to make a replacement, make it like every other laptop brick out there... cord from brick to wall on one end and another cord from brick to lappy on the other end and make the power connector work with the laptop. Why a laptop would have a wall-wart style power adapter truly boggles my mind. The knock of is so blatant as to be laughable. I'm no fan of Apple, but they get kudos from me for this one.

  4. Dadz
    Black Helicopters

    Uh oh

    How long until Apple implements a system to lock out unauthorized power supplies? Dell's Latitude D series of laptops talk to the AC adapter and report on bootup if they are using an incorrect power supply. The laptop draws power from the incorrect adapter (such as an HP nc8430 adapter) but runs in battery mode (dim screen, etc). All it would take is a firmware update to lock out the adapter - just like how Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 locked out third-party video cables recently.

    1. Clint Sharp

      Not just Dell

      HP and IBM also do this. It's a pain in the ass because the ID chips fail, often leaving a working PSU that is no use for its intended purpose.

      Didn't stop the knock offs though.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      They already have

      "How long until Apple implements a system to lock out unauthorized power supplies?"

      They already have (effectively). Current laptops use the Magsafe connector - something completely different to every other connector out there. But, they have patents which they claim apply to it and so people are afraid to make compatible supplies. The patents have absolutely nothing that is a) applicable to the connector as used AND b) not covered by well known prior art. But of course, everyone knows that it costs a fortune to defend such an action and get the patent declared invalid.

  5. windywoo
    Jobs Halo

    Apple has every right

    To charge huge prices for peripherals that cost a few bucks to make. Its their legal right to charge double the price that competitors offer.

    Don't give that usual bollocks about Apple using higher quality components. Even if that were true, I'd like to see some stats that say these powerbricks were half as effective.

  6. Richard 102

    Wow

    That's such an obvious design copy I'm surprised Nissan didn't do it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Much as I hate to agree

    Apple aren't wrong on this one, I've spent many happy hours sorting problems (and bloody weird ones at that) that have been caused by dodgy non original laptop PSUs.

    Damnit, I feel dirty now.

    Paris, might as well feel dirtier.

  8. Mr Young
    Pint

    Har,Har

    These funny little 2 page ornamental patents are funny!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on ...

    Did you really miss something like, "Immitation means flattery for your battery." ? Or was it just THAT bad a potential pun?

  10. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    The wrong question is being addressed

    As usual we are getting hung up on the rights and wrongs of Media Solutions Holdings copying the crApple power brick, the correct question should be why can't crApple make a power supply for $30? FFS, it's only a power supply, made from standard components, if you were handy with a soldering iron you could easily make a regulated power supply from components from Radio Shack, Maplin etc.

    Of course what you would be missing is the firmware to check if you are using an "authorised" power supply.

    Does the crApple product offer some superior functionally, it doesn’t, this is just more product lock-in bullshit, FOAD, the lot of them.

    Thanks for the info Dadz, I’ve just added ding-dong-dell to my never buy list.

    Paris, I wouldn’t mind getting locked-in to her product.

  11. Steven Walker
    Happy

    Better design?

    i hope they lose the case, apple have taken the piss for too long.

    I am very mobile and get around 12 to 18 months use out of a legit power brick before the cable frays - either at the magsafe end or at the power brick end. Apple will not repair them, replace them under warranty or redesign them so that the line to the computer is replaceable.

    Even the ripoffs are a rip off. I had to pay £12.50 on eBay just for a replacement cable. You have to break the box, solder in the cable and then use plastic ties to keep the thing in more or less one piece.

    Annual costs of £58 for the power cubes and £97 for a battery are going to make my MacBook Pro my last Mac. It will be a laptop with Ubuntu the next time I need a new battery

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Why?

    Sure there's a need for aftermarket PSU's, especially when OEM stuff is so extorionately priced. What I don't get is why the manufacturer thought it was a good idea to make their PSU look exactly like an Apple design. Moreover you have to wonder how they thought they'd get away with it.

    It would be virtually impossible for Apple to stop somebody selling something that did the job, but looked nothing like the OEM item. So what were these people thinking.

  13. David Halko
    Flame

    Hypocrisy of Earning...

    Author asks, "If you're wondering why Apple would go through the time and expense of dragging a small company into court for a design infringement..."

    Perhaps it is because Apple had spent a great deal of time paying designers to come up with a unique design.

    People always want to be paid for their work, then they get upset when someone else gets paid for their work - the hypopcrisy of humanity...

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