Woz bought one of these.
Apple has thrown the book at a student who last year sold White iPhone 4 conversion kits to those sick of waiting for an official product to surface. In November 2010, with release dates for the white iPhone 4 constantly pushed back, one fanboy's impatience got the better of him. New York teen Fei Lam ordered parts from Apple …
I assume that is why Apple dropped the lawsuit right away. Either they realized how bad it would look, or they just filed it to make a point in the first place: "If we wanted to, we could sue you into oblivion."
From what I understand, only the Apple logo and the iPhone trademark make it illegal; but the infringement is as clear as it could be.
I still don't get what the fanboy icon is supposed to represent.
This post has been deleted by its author
He bought the parts, and painted them, as I understand it. If the parts were stolen, that's a different matter. If Foxconn weren't meant to sell him the parts, that's more the fault of Foxconn than him.
If you bought the panel of a car, painted it a different colour and sold it, would you expect the car manufacturer to sue you?
Beware of calling other people "not exactly very bright" when it may also apply to yourself.
From the article, Apple's complaints — and my guesses at the reasoning behind them are:
"infringed upon patents and violated its trademark", i.e. manufactured (if he was painting them himself as other commenters allege) and sold equipment with the Apple logo on without permission.
"using deceptive practices in the creation and sale of the product", presumably by making some sort of claim that these were authentic Apple parts for genuine white iPhones rather than genuine black parts, repainted.
Though it's ironic that Apple appear to be using (amongst others) laws with the purpose of allowing a company to protect is reputation to sue a 17-year old who through significant initiative managed to fill a gap they'd created when they failed to ship a simple product for an extended period of time. I think they're being really stupid on this one.
If the poor little lad had bought the parts from Apple you'd have a point. He did not. He bought the parts from Foxcon.
Apple can't really pursueFoxcon in a US court, but they can pursue the tyke because he is selling illegally branded parts.
If Ford had their door panels made by SheetMetalPressers and you bought Ford panels from them and then painted them and sold them, Ford would too.
What a bunch of c*****. They're really going after a kid. Yes, as he's in the US he's probably been able to drive for the last 10 years, but won't be able to buy a beer for another 15 or have sex for a further 5.
Would be tempted to get rid of my iPhone now, if it wasn't for the small matter of being tied in for X months.
Angry, meaningless protests that don't come to fruition - yeah!
Indeed, I think you're right. If they let too many things slip through then they could well loose their trademarks. They have no choice but to take action. At least they dropped it immediately, probably for some minuscule fee, like $1. So they can tick the right boxes for their trademarks.
It would seem to have been a genuine Apple part purchased in good faith from the actual manufacturer. I can buy genuine ASUS spares from Europe and ASUS don't sue me.
Still, yet another reason not to want anything made by apple, as if I need it.
Fanboi cos the gimp loves a good bending over.
They didn't want him - they wanted the Foxconn leak that was selling him the parts so they used a law suit to frighten him (or rather his parents) enough to give them all the details of the supplier.
I would guess that Apple will shortly be filing against that person and won't be dropping it quite so quickly.
The U.S. has allowed the prosecution of 12 year olds (age at prosecution, not crime) as full blown adults. Merkins are very schizophrenic in deciding at what age a child is really a child.
They can enter into legally binding contracts. It's called employment and they are paid set wages (usually minimum and sometimes less as contract farm workers, wait staff, or in the case of an aquaintence... a bikini dancer (no nudity until 18).
They can register to vote if they'll be of age at the time of the election.
They can most certainly sign up for military service under 18 years of age.
Minors can be employed, under very specific conditions (limitations on hours, etc.) ... However, a minor cannot, for example, sign a contract with a mobile phone service provider ... dear mummy and daddy must do that for them. In fact, TechDirt points out that every single murkan Google user under the age of 18 may technically be violating the law: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090625/0241115358.shtml
If they want to join the military under 18, their parents MUST sign for them. Also, they cannot be deployed until they turn 18.
In murka, chilluns must be:
18 to vote (note, not "register to vote" -- actually vote)
18 to smoke or purchase cigarettes
18 to sign a legally binding contract (like, credit card, mobile phone, etc.)
18 to join the military (UNLESS parents sign for them at 17)
21 to drink or purchase alcohol
However, if the courts so decree, they can be prosecuted for crimes as an adult from a very young age. Make sense? Nope. Gonna change anytime soon? Nope.
People have been saying this about Microsoft / Sony / Every other large multinational for years and it simply isn't the case.
Apple will still be making huge sales of iPhones, iPads, iPods, iMacs and everything else starting with "i" regardless of what you buy.
For every idealogical "I won't buy their stuff" there is still a hundred or a thousand people who will.
It might be sad but it's still true.
...it's about what I do. I'm holding to my principles. Sooner or later the other people doing the exact same thing will increase. Slowly but surely.
Apple were popular for a small time in the 80s, then interest fell off.
The funny thing about history is that it tends to be circular.
I also refuse to buy Apple products. In fact I have a rule that they are not to even come into my house. A few friends had iPhones and weren't happy about leaving them in the car, but my house - my rules. After explaining a few things to them about Apple and its wannabe tyranny, I've successfully weaned four people off of Apple products and moved them onto other brands instead. I'm currently working on a fifth, and I will keep going after that.
Just because millions of fanbois keep on buying their products does not invalidate the actions of those of us who disagree with Apple's business models and general screw-everyone attitude. Each person I wean off of Apple is one less customer to buy their next iGadget. And I'm not alone, as evidenced by some of the comments here.
Remember the old Chinese philosophy of Sil Lum Tao - the great mountain made of many small pebbles. If enough people take a few pebbles each, eventually there is no mountain left.
It's quite simple, Foxconn selling parts direct to consumers or non-Apple divisions is not allowed. It's Apple's IP and copyrighted design.
Just like a DVD and CD manufacturer doesn't have the right to sell cheap films and music CDs direct to customers either. They don't own the film or music, they are just contracted to make them.
In order to determine the legality of the kid's purchases from Foxconn, there needs to be a bit more info about that deal in the public sphere. Nobody else but YOU has such info?!? Post a link explaining why you believe the deal is illegal or figure out how to keep your mouth shut until you have some facts at your fingertips.
They NEED protection from white pieces of plastic that look like the Holy Real Thing. They might get CONFUSED while sourcing polymers from a third-party website and think the are communicating with an AppStore[tm] or even one of one of those rumored Apple Stores that bless us with their Earthly Presence.
Of course, they should inherently sense that the JOBSIANESS is not inherent in these heathen pieces of cheap chinese lookalikes and their IMPATIENCE at the obtaining the Next Holy Gimmick to clad their Holy Product caused them to stray from the path of virtuosity. The flesh is weak.
Apple have been unable to produce a white iPhone 4 for months, yet, Foxconn, offical Apple supplier, were able to supply white iPhone4 parts, back in November.
Either these were very poor quality test samples, or Apple have been able to produce the holy grail of iPhone4's all along and have withheld them until sales started to level out, so that the super-fanbois can ditch their black ones and buy a white one... just months before the iPhone5 arrives.
No, Apple wouldn't do that, would they?
I doubt fabrication of the plastic shell has been the problem. From what Apple has said, they ran into significant problems with the ambient light sensor not working with white plastic rather than the black plastic. I am not sure anyone is certain how Apple addressed the problem, if it was a software change, a sensor change, or a change to the white shell. Heck, the parts this kid bought from Foxxcomm could very well be early prototypes that were scrapped.
I bought a white conversion kit and they do differ from the final product in several ways. Most noticeably as you can see from the picture in El Reg's article the proximity sensor above the speaker is a mesh-like rectangle. If you look at the released model on Apple's website there's a dark lozenge shape in that place, suggesting Apple had to re-design the proximity sensor by recessing it in the case (I've noticed on mine it tends to make the screen brighter in well lit areas and darker in dark areas, which for me actually works better!)
Other differences between the conversion kit and the final product are that the screens have no oleophobic coating and the Home button is not quite the same colour and it's slightly crooked (that one might be my fault, iPhones are bloody fiddly inside, I've never seen such small screws)!
I think it did take Apple an unusually long time to get the white iPhone out, but certainly their reasons for the delay jibe very closely with the flaws in the kit I bought.
Wasn't he just changing the colour of a apple product? He was not claiming it was anything other than an apple product - so why does fuckwit law apply here? All I see is an enterprising reseller - no copyright laws broken there.
Or is it that apple want to be the only ones to sell overpriced cases?
From the small amount of information revealed here it isn't totally clear he's broken any law. It's not an obvious trademark infringement as he's clearly using the mark to refer to Apple rather than pretending to be Apple, and it's not a clear copyright/design infringement as he didn't make the parts himself. However, it looks as though somebody has infringed the copyright/design and this guy was working together with that somebody.
"It's not an obvious trademark infringement as he's clearly using the mark to refer to Apple rather than pretending to be Apple..."
In the United States, with US trademark laws, that doesn't matter. Any unauthorized use of a trademark, even if the infringer is not claiming or pretending to be the company the trademark belongs to, is still infringement.
A lot of folks get really upset when they see stories like this, without understanding that US trademark law is written in such a way that trademark owners have little choice. Disney occasionally sues mothers who paint Mickey Mouse upon their bedroom laws or day care centers that put Donald Duck on the side of the playroom. It's the same thing.
The law specifies quite clearly that if a company owns a trademark, and the company becomes aware that someone is using the trademark but doesn't sue that person, the company can lose the trademark. This is called the "doctrine of laches" and it's a part of US trademark law (Title 15, § 1115, section B, paragraph 9), as well as trademark law in most of the various states.
It's kind of stupid; I for one would prefer trademark law to be more similar to copyright law, in which failure to act against an infringer doesn't mean you lose the copyright forever.
But unfortunately, it's not.
Trademark and patent law in the US is kind of broken. Mostly, it's broken in ways that protect the interests of big companies. When it comes to this, though, it's broken in a way that doesn't serve anyone's interests. Big companies don't like suing 17-year-old kids; even a company as famously arrogant as Apple knows that's bad publicity. But they have no choice, if they want to keep the trademark on the Apple logo.
Only because they're no decent judges around. A decent judge would take one hard look at the case and give a huge claim to the youngster. If they ran the risk of getting a judge in appeal that would slam the cuffs on them, they're eagerness to "sue you into oblivion" would soon cool down.
And that is of course the only appropriate action.
But NOOOOOH, law isn't judge on what's fair and what's not.
It's an ORIGINAL apple part painted white.
It's not a knock off part.
It would be like sueing someone for infringement who is selling spare parts.
It just so happens that the spare part has a bit of paint on it. Where do you draw the line? If I buy a normal spare case and there is a slight defect giving it a blemish, is the vendor now guilty of infringment? No.
Having the Police raid a journalists home as if they were your private security force is one thing, but suing a kid (and his parents) for buying parts from their supplier and then selling them on the web? And hang on, Apple couldn't produce a white iPhone 4 while Foxxcon apparently had the parts to do so, and this kid pretty much outed Apple as having the capability to produce a white iPhone 4 but didn't?
Even if you do allow Flash on your Jesus phone, I will not be buying one.
If I remember the original story correctly (and it was posted on the El Reg), these were genuine white plastic cases made for Apple, then Apple changed their minds and Foxcon had a small warehouse full of them and nowhere to send them.
Now it may be that Apple changed their mind because of a technical issue with the cases, that does not make it illegal to sell them on to people to fit to their phones (IMHO), as long as the origin is clear (and it was made clear in the original story).
I know of several cases where things have been produced for a Major UK store and the store either changed the order quantity or canceled it, and the goods have been sold WITH THE STORE'S Label by the makers directly to the public. (Beers and Ciders mostly).
If Apple didnt want the cases sold on, they should have paid for them and then had them destroyed (SOP, as done by KFC and BurgerKing when they have ordered too many "T" shirts and baseball caps)
Off to drink my M&S cast-off ciders
From one side talking rationally - I can see Apples point. But then I can see the other point. much more strongly. Companies like Chrysler spend years developing their product, make it as perfect as they can for the best price - and then someone buys it, drives it round the corner and has the thing rebuilt from the ground up. I dont see Chrysler screaming its head off because someone wanted a little more oomph from their Charger R/T... not to mention if they change the paint job.
Apple are on the way to destroying themselves, and they will have no-one else to blame but themselves. If you build an expensive product, and there are problems with it - you fix them, not slap lawsuits on someone who got burned when your faulty equipment blew up in their faces. Someone sees a gap in the market (a gap which apple are to blame for because they couldnt get their fingers out of their collective butts) and exploited it and you start screaming legal action - and when you belatedly realise its bad form to start on a kid, then to blame the parents??!!
Sorry Apple but you need to start listening sooner rather than later. People who have brought your product *OWN* it, you dont. They can drop it in a slurry tank, they can drive over it with a Scorpion... and guess what, you can do sweet FA. You are nothing more than a manufacturer. Chrysler or Renault cant turn round and sue if a customer takes a new car and instantly take it to a tuner and have it professionally modified, they might winge about warranty claims, but thats about it. I dont hear any car company trying that. The only one who did, Rolls Royce, got their backside handed to them on a plate, because it was deemed the vehicle was the owners property.
Personally the sooner whichever ****wit who decided that attacking customers - who did nothing more than provide a service, that you promised and then failed to provide - either gets his marching orders or drops dead the better it will be for apple. Applenerks, do you understand? try to get this concept through your heads, YOU ARE ACTUALLY MORE HATED THAN MICROSOFT AND AIG PUT TOGETHER.
And the result of that?
The minute someone makes a mobile phone that is proven better than the iphone you will go down faster than a Clinton Intern.
And you know what.... The day you file chapter 11 I will dance for joy.
I own a 1995 Renault Safrane - with a few special modifications. But ooh look, Renault UK havent come and screamed at me for repainting the wheels on it.
Apple, either you stop acting like a billionaire three year old or prepare to reap the whirlwind... because sometimes the bug you are trying to pull the wings off.... is a really really annoyed hornet...
If you take a film to the local store to have prints made are they entitled to sell additional copies to anyone else they fancy? No they are not.
Just because these parts were made by Foxconn or one of their subcontractors doesn't mean that they were entitled to sell them. Worst case the parts are stolen, best case they are unauthorised copies and Apple are entitled to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again either way.
The case was brought by Apple and dismissed by them. Basically a slap on the wrist and a warning to others that they may not be so lenient if it happens again. Once again the comentards chime in saying this proves that they are evil. Without opening the way to anyone who wants to import unofficial and illegal parts from china how could they have been any less aggressive?
"The case was brought by Apple and dismissed by them. Basically a slap on the wrist and a warning to others that they may not be so lenient if it happens again."
This makes perfect sense. Supposing Apple had simply ignored the teenager in question. Later on, someone else starts selling, oh, something that looks like, say, an old iPod Mini and calls it an iPod Mini and puts the Apple logo on it as well. Apple take them to court because these cheap iPod mini's are keep failing and don't work with iTunes and are generally causing trouble for everyone who buys them. You'd think it would be a clear cut case wouldn't you? No, it isn't, because Apple haven't defended their trademark in the past they have no right to do it now. That may not exactly be how the US law works and it may not be how you should think it works, but companies *must* defend their trademarks.
You might prefer it if Apple didn't defend their trademarks, but there are a lot of Apple shareholders out there who would lose serious amounts of money if Apple went down the tubes. Some of them are probably your pension company ...
"the kid was a minor #
Posted Tuesday 31st May 2011 14:33 GMT
(note, IANAL) Under 18s in the US are minors. Among other things, they cannot legally enter into binding contracts, or vote, or enlist in the military, etc. Until they reach their majority, their parents are liable for the actions of the little darlings, to a large extent."
Unless of course they are African American, then you can give a 15 year old life in prison.
Anyway the whole thing is ridiculous, where does it legally leave the traders on fleabay when flogging replacement (apple) branded parts for their ipods/pads etc. Clearly Apple are getting all pissy because it wasn't sold on their terms and they made no cash from it.
So, he took the initiative to order parts from Apple's manufacture and simply painted them OR did he use money from his part time job/paper route to purchase the injection molding equipment to start fabricating his own, out of raw stock?
Either way, I admire the kid's ambition to fill a nitch that Apple clearly wasn't filling for their customers. Furthermore, I think Jobs should reward the lad for his inventiveness because Apple assumed its customer base would be completely receptive to an all black iPhone, in lieu of choices. That means he saved Apple and their army of focus groups a considerable amount of time and effort in figuring out what colors consumers wanted.
Finally, if Foxcom is selling iParts to every individual with a PO, credit card or cash then I think Apple has bigger issues than some enterprising 17 year old kid.
Now, if I was CEO of a company that found an enterprising kid doing stuff like this I'd have phoned up the kid to ask if I could pop round for a cuppa and a chat. I'd take a corporate lawyer with me and whilst sipping aforementioned cuppa I'd offer to sponsor him through university, the lawyer would draw up an appropriate contract: a) stop selling this stuff, b) if you drop out, pay our $$ back, c) if you get really bad grades, pay our $$ back, d) after graduation must work for us for 3 years due to our investment in you.
Everyone's happy right? Kid gets education/job. Company will probably spend less on his education than lawyers fees. Parents don't spend mortgage repayments on lawyers. PR dept gets to have a wank, or whatever it is they do.
Kids that are willing to get off their arses and work hard are somewhat rare these days (IMHO). This kid should be shown a bit of respect, not threatened by the suits...
Fei Lam: I don't know how the contract works between Foxconn and Apple but the "repair parts" that come out months before actual product release is very weird.
FAST COMPANY: That seems to be a focus of the lawsuit.
Fei Lam: I also don't know why the white parts were made. Maybe they were to be thrown out or something. Not sure. It's all very weird.
FAST COMPANY: Because you are saying you received them from [a businessman in China named] Alan Yang, and not from Foxconn directly?
Fei Lam: Yes.
Seems to me they could have just asked the kid how he obtained the parts in the first instance, then plugged the leak. Infinitely preferable to shoving the combined power of a major corporations' legal division up his jacksie.
BTW Steve Todd I feel DESPAIR when a comMentard can't spell. I dount anyone here is suggesting Apple are evil for wanting to protect their IP - but there are ways and means y'know?
...you HAVE to sue. Apple were merely fulfilling their obligation to protect their IP (or lose the rights to it). Because they vacated immediately, I believe that the Law will see this as sufficient action to protect their rights to their IP and marks, and also to satisfy the people who don't understand US law.
They filed, the case was accepted, they vacated. Rights protected, 17YO boy safe, everybody's happy.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020