back to article Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

In a setback for the right-to-repair movement, Norway's Supreme Court has upheld a decision that a repair shop's use of unauthorized iPhone screens violated Apple's trademark. In July 2017, Norwegian customs officials intercepted a package from Hong Kong, sent to Henrik Huseby's repair store PCKompaniet, with 63 replacement …

  1. John Sturdy
    WTF?

    Worse than expected, but that's just a detail

    The simple way round this is not to buy Apple.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail

      As far as I am concerned, when I buy something it is mine, to do with as I wish.

      A sold ithing is no longer Apple's, rulings like this are counter productive for consumers and prevents them from using their own paid for property in any way they see fit merely to perpetuate a corporation's image, that is just wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail

        Correct.

        And you are free to replace broken parts with whatever you can obtain, just no guarantee you have access to original or genuine parts.

        Ultimately it is Apples choice about how they handle spare parts, so far, it doesnt seem to be all that detrimental to their profits.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

          I'm not sure you fully understand the case.

          The issue is that Apple are using trademark legislation to prevent what could well be genuine parts removed from broken or failed devices to be used for repair.

          Their assertion is that the parts are actually counterfeit, and seem to have persuaded the Norwegian legal system this is the case.

          They do have a case. There are counterfeit parts manufactured and sold as genuine. But there are also genuine parts available. It is difficult to tell on cursory examination.

          As I understand it, there is also a grey area where damaged genuine parts have the damaged elements replaced, for example, a functional genuine screen with damaged glass has the glass replaced, probably with the same spec. glass that Apple use, so is an amalgam of a genuine and after-market part. Does that make it counterfeit or genuine? I'm not sure, but Apple assert that it is counterfeit.

          Apple says that anything they didn't supply that contains any Apple identifying symbols must be counterfeit, something that is almost certainly not true. As a result, they stifle the supply of parts to just that of what they deign to supply at whatever price they want to sell at, and the real counterfeit parts (which they also want to ban but have difficulty at the current time).

          Once they get this, they can control parts supply to make it uneconomical to repair their products. In a normal supply-demand economy, this should damage their brand, but it seems that the buying public are just so enamored by that logo that they continue to pay large sums for devices that may well break and become un-repairable long before the customer expects.

          1. RM Myers Silver badge
            Unhappy

            "...seems that the buying public are just so enamored by that logo..."

            Or in my case, turned off by anything with Google software inside.

          2. cbars Silver badge

            Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

            I think people who make this argument forget a bit... so: as a rational, resource orientated mammal, you would expect this. But you forget status. Cutting to my point, no one gives a shit, the fact that its expensive drives the brand, and consumers don't make a comparison between the grassy Hill and the grassy Hill: that hill is better. That is not being enamoured, that's calculated.

            Yes, its bad for companies to exploit this human behaviour.

            1. Jedipadawan

              Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

              I run a private tuition business in Indonesia and my client base is 100% ethnic Chinese. They have totally standardised on Apple products because of 'Face.'

              The fact Apple products are expensive makes them status symbols and among the ethnic Chinese (especially in a business centre) that counts. Indeed, if you do not flash an expensive iPhone, Macbook or Rolex watch you could lose a major contract as you could been seen to make the other party lose Face.

              I have discussed this matter with my clients and 'Face' is, indeed, pretty much 'status' and you buy status with cold hard cash with which you buy status symbols with and that partly explains the legendary Chinese love of money. Note that while a lot of us may well laugh at a fake Rolex, such items are taken way more seriously out here when not having a Rolex watch could cost you work, contracts and even friends.

              So all my students have iPhones and Macbooks and the International standard schools they attend are all using Apple products to run Google online software because of Face.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

                Rolex, the choice of Stockbrokers, pimps and Jacques Cousteau!

            2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

              I replaced Mrs IP's iPhone screen last year with a replacement that is almost certainly counterfeit. It does the job and cost peanuts - the result of that calculation is "better" than the perfectly mowed grassy hill occupied by appearance-obsessed rent-seekers over there - - >

              1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

                Apologies - I just looked at the photos I took of the replacement part. No Apple logo to be seen, therefore copy not counterfeit.

            3. Wayland Bronze badge

              Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

              People get a lot of respect from other people envious of the fact they can just throw money away on Apple products. The thing is those cheap people who can't afford the best would never buy Apple even if they had the money, it would feel wrong to them. Buying Apple is like spending £10,000 on a handbag of similar quality to a £200 bag. It means you are a far better person in every way.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

              "the fact that its expensive drives the brand"

              Well, that and the fact that Apple make really good hardware ...

          3. Mike 137 Silver badge

            Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

            "Apple says that anything they didn't supply that contains any Apple identifying symbols must be counterfeit, something that is almost certainly not true."

            Unfortunately it is valid and that's apparently the essence of the case - trademark infringement. In the absence of the "Apple identifying symbols" on the parts there could be no trademark infringement. They would just be "aftermarket", which might give rise to an alternative objection but not this one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

              I looked at a fake iPhone 11 in Asia a little while back. Definitely counterfeit.

              It looked the same, the software looked exactly the same at casual perusal. I guess downloaded Apps might have looked "Androidy", I don't know. But they had copied the base software almost exactly. Hardware was probably not as solid and I doubt the camera software was the same, but you wouldn't notice without closer examination. It was cheaper than an iPhone and Halo products from the big manufacturers, but not throw away cheap. It's expensive to build top drawer devices.

              Sort of like buying a AAA fake Rolex for US$500. To the untrained eye, looks the same, and works nearly as good.

              I get a lot of use and work out of my tech. I expect phones to have 5+ year life on a phone and 10+ on a product like MBA 11". Only Apple products have come close.

          4. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

            There are also compatible parts sold and Apple don't like that either. If it's genuine and has no Apple logo then that's one crime, if it's genuine and does have an Apple logo then that's another crime, if it's a compatible part with the makers logo then that's another crime. Plus Apple will go out of their way to detect non Apple parts and make the phone fail months after a successful repair.

            If you like Apple products then enjoy the status of spending a lot of money. People will respect the fact you paid a lot more for something just like they respect Rolls Royce owners because the car costs a lot more than it's worth. It shows you have massive wealth and that's a good thing. Don't cheap out by having it repaired unless the repair is three times the cost of a new Apple. No one respects someone with a 6 months old Apple product, it means you don't have the money for the latest one.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

            I recently had installed a new battery and a new WiFi module in my iPhone 6.

            It works a treat again.

            On an iPhone 6 the WiFi (and BT?) module is replaceable. I am sure it was a genuine re-purposed unit from a junked iPhone and I was happy to pay the trivial price for the entire job, which was under US$30 in my part of the world.

            When the new SE reaches near EOL they'll be quite a bit cheaper and I'll probably upgrade, finally.

            Apple hate customers like me. I don't subscribe to any services, have spent <$10 on the App Store since the 3GS and my phones don't get upgraded too often.

          6. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail @AC

            "I'm not sure you fully understand the case."

            I wasnt commenting on the case, I was commenting on the previous posters "once I own it, it is mine to do with as I want".

            Doing what you want with something, does not mean you always have a choice in what you can get hold of.

            Yes, Apple misusing trademarks to suppress parts is not the right way to do things, but equally true that Apple do not need to make any of their components available to the open market, which was my only point.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Worse than expected, but that's just a detail

        The iPhone does not belong to you. You are simply the registered keeper responsible for funding it and keeping it running. Currently you are free to dispose of it yourself but expect that to change soon too. Apple will contract you to dispose of the phone with them for an additional fee. If you lose the phone you will have to pay an environmental fine.

  2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Norway...

    We sometimes joke about Norwegians, and this doesn't help them.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The law would appear to be an ass ...

    If the parts were indeed manufactured by/for Apple and removed from failed/scrapped devices, then no reasonable person will see that as trademark infringement (or understand how it is), as they're "used genuine parts". Obviously, if they were not made by Apple originally (i.e. knock-offs), then that's another thing ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

      Read the court document and the problem seems to be that the screens are 'refurbished' by a third party but they still have the Apple logo.

      Apple are arguing that a customer seeing an Apple logo on a screen has the right to expect an Apple approved screen.

      1. James 139

        Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

        This is my "argument" with counterfeit goods.

        If its fake and says "Apple" or "Rolex", thats one thing, generally because people are stupid and don't question why they're paying so little for something, "its a bargain!!"

        If its fake and says "Bpple" or "Bolex", then, as long as someone isnt trying to claim its a 'mistake at the factory', you know its a fake and the price reflects that.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

          In Thailand, I tried to buy some t-shirts. I never buy t-shirts with some brand name on them, but it was impossible to find _anything_ that didn't have some obviously fake brand name on it.

          On the other hand, the ladies on that trip found a leather shop selling handbags that were definitely not cheap, looked like good quality, very much resembled Gucci handbags - and that had one original Gucci handbag there and showed you in detail all the differences that a normal person wouldn't have noticed, but that made it very clear that they tried hard to stay on the legal side.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

            This is a tech site not your international clothes shopping blog

            1. John Sturdy

              Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

              There are things in common between buying Apple and buying Gucci, including that cheaper alternatives will do the job just as well.

        2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

          I really don't understand why anyone would buy any mass-produced item (e.g. Apple*, Rolex, Gucci) that costs multiples of currency units more than something much cheaper that does the job better**. I wouldn't have a Rolex (or fake) if someone gave it to me, because the only thing it does better than my £35 watch is say "I'm a wanker" (though in different ways for real v fake). Something truly bespoke, produced because it meets the needs of the buyer, is a different matter.

          Please folks - buy based on function

          * We do have Apple stuff in this house, but only because they were free (iPad won in a raffle and iPhone passed on for nowt) and Mrs IP, not caring about the labels, needed the items at the time. [I can safely say that, after her experiences with them, they will not be replaced with Apple stuff, even if free!]

          ** or as well, or maybe even slightly worse.

          1. Confuciousmobil
            Pint

            Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

            I buy Apple products because they work.

            I have tried Android ald was appalled by how many options there were to do nearly what you want. I prefer to have something that I know will work without having to find something from some dodgy source that doesn’t quite do what you want and then find another app that is similar but with different features.

            I can’t be arsed with the faff of android, I gave all that up with Windows mobile which, on paper, did everything the iPhone did when it came out.

            YMMV but I’ll stick with Apple, thank you.

            1. BenDwire Silver badge

              Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

              You must have been holding your Android wrong.

              Admittedly in the early days it was a PITA but now my iPhone friends struggle far more than I do.

              I'm no fanboi or cheapskate, I just don't do fashion. I don't buy Gucci either.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

                Gucci is ostentatious conspicuous consumption - they are style not fashion. These are not even remotely the same thing.

            2. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

              My Nokia N95 was more capable than iphones for pity's sake. (try bluetoothing a ringtone... nope iphone couldn't do that, N95 could). The argument that apple just works is not borne out by anyone's experience.

              My work colleague has an iphone, it just plain doesn't DO some things my old android does well...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

            "because the only thing it does better than my £35 watch is say "I'm a wanker"

            But what do my real Patek Philippe or Blancpain Tourbillon watches say about me, to you and others like you? The answer is nothing, because you probably wouldn't recognize one if you saw it.

            There is a difference between ostentatious conspicuous consumption, and buying expensive super high quality stuff that the plebs have never heard of, never mind afford, and would never notice. For the missus it's the Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks - they look great, last a long time and 99% of people could not recognize even if they knew the name. Women's shoes is a whole other level of weirdness .... but I digress.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

              I didn't digress into my opinion of people like yourself because the post was a bit long already. In a sense, I admire you - you have chosen something that suits *you*, not to shout "Look at me!!!"* I *would* recognise your watches if I noticed them - to be honest, if I was looking at your watch whilst talking to you, the conversation must be incredibly boring - but any general clothing would be entirely lost on me (see earlier comments on my attitude to clothes).

              *I'd admire you even more if they were previously owned.

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

      The repairer is not trying to sell the parts on the basis of the brand. He is simply offering to make the phone work by replacing broken parts with working parts. Who makes the parts does not matter to the phone user as long as he gets a good result at a price he is happy with. what Apple are doing is lawfair. They are attempting to prevent their phones from being repaired without actually admitting that's what they are doing. Apple do sell parts that they will allow you to use but there are a some problems, they are funny about who they will sell them to, they are very expensive and actual availability is poor.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: The law would appear to be an ass ...

        Lawfare, not lawfair.

        Lawfare being essentially warfare, but using the legal system to acheive the aims of eliminating the opposition instead of force.

  4. mordac

    I'm confused - Apple's claim seems to be that the screens were counterfeit and thus violated their trademark, but they only violated the trademark because they had an Apple logo on them. So PCKompaniet are guilty of being sold counterfeit goods - so why are they being taken to court rather than the company that sold them the dodgy goods?

    Would the screens have been OK if they did not have an apple logo on them?

    1. /\/\j17

      I think the devil here will be in the detail - which is probably only readable by legal Norwegen speakers reading the actual court documents.

      Case 1 - Aftermarket screens without Apple logos. The should be fine as no logo=no copyright and "must fit/must match" rules would apply to the design.

      Case 2 - Second hand Apple screens with Apple logos. These should also be fine as they are orignal Apple parts.

      Case 3 - Aftermarket screens with Apple logos. These are correctly a trade mark infringement.

      Case 4 - Refurbished second hand Apple screens. A lot depends what 'refurbished' means. At the one end "cleaned" should be OK but at the other you have "Triggers broom", where the only thing that's retained IS the logo...not so much.

      1. gerryg

        Case 2 - probably would fall foul of grey import restrictions.

        Explained on a serendipitously named website

        https://www.appleyardlees.com/parallel-imports-navigating-the-grey-market/

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "Case 2 - probably would fall foul of grey import restrictions."

          That's not Trademark, that's import law.

          If I buy a Cortina, take it apart and sell the parts, I'm not counterfeiting and what Ford thinks shouldn't enter into it. I use this example as I do buy second hand cars and strip them down to sell parts. If a shop in Asia somewhere is buying non-functioning iPhones and stripping them down for parts and selling them to repair shops, I don't see any issue with that.

          The ONLY Trademark issue is if an aftermarket product is labeled and logo'd to make it appear to be OEM. It may also be an issue if a part is being marketed as genuine and it's a knock off even if it doesn't have any branding.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How would the buyer know?

        In case 3 & 4 the buyer would never know.

        In Denmark there was a significant case regarding Converse shoes. Converse sued because they knew that the shoes didn't come directly through their supply chain. The buyer, bought them from a well established middle man who had all the paper work saying that they were real Converse shoes.

        Converse were, in court, unable to identify any differences whatsoever in the shoes or packaging. The buyer was excused, because there is a point that reasonable care by the buyer is enough.

        Rant:

        Moving manufacturing to China is precisely identical to giving away your IP for free. This has always been the case and a whole generation of managers lined their own products by giving away everything companies owned for a few cents on the dollar manufacturing cost difference.

        Worse, I personally know of one company that was doing a roaring trade in China (specialized and unique building materials). They needed volume and the product was heavy so they built a factory in China and started producing and selling more stuff there. All good, until a far cheaper competitor emerged. The Chinese just copied the entire factory and manufacturing process - and I mean right down to the door handles on the loos. The company ended up packing up and going home because the Chinese had stolen their business - lock, stock and barrel.

        The West gifted the CCP western tech and product knowledge in the stupid hope they'd suddenly get the urge to be a friendly open democratic society instead of a ruthless bloody dictatorship. Bad move, time to move out.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Did they have round corners?

      Seriously though, this does have the smell of Apple shutting down legitimate competition for repairs in any way possible. Did the contested parts get confirmed by an independant examiner in Norway to be IP infringing copys with a logo or just on Apples sworn statement?

      Most likely they're 'grey' and came out of the same subcontractors factory as original parts therefore identical in every way. This is a completely different liability angle and has been an issue for decades across the outsourced electronics industry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Most likely they're 'grey' and came out of the same subcontractors factory as original parts therefore identical in every way. This is a completely different liability angle and has been an issue for decades across the outsourced electronics industry."

        This is less likely than it may seem. Large companies generally have very good control over this and a company like Apple is likely to have such strict regulations that it just isn't worth the risk for a contractor to scam them for a few bucks on the side.

        In another industry for example, there was always an expectation that Gore-Tex jackets being sold in some Asian stores (and Australasian) were 'excess production' from a factory making the genuine ones and selling them off cheap. However I investigated this briefly and all the ones I saw were completely fake and counterfeit. I spoke to a HK factory owner about this and whether genuine ones were escaping onto the black market. He said it was almost impossible, as well as the checks by the brand owner there were supplemental checks by Gore-Tex themselves with material going into the factory having to account for goods going out of the factory and excess material being weighed before being disposed of. There is really strict security on site that checks every employee and it would need a major conspiracy to pull it off. Also if any goods did find their way into the black market the origins could easily be traced. 'Western' goods are very often delivered from Asian countries directly to the distribution in 'the West' before being re-imported back into the Asian country for resale, despite the extra costs involved.

        Therefore most big contractors for parts for big companies don't take any risks with goods leaving their site for resale, the minimal amount that would bring in is way too much of a risk to lose their contract and also jeopardize any future contracts. Sure it is *a possibility* for smaller companies who have gone for the cheapest bidder but even then it is unlikely.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Are you sure your HK factoy owner (whose factory was presumably in Guangdong) was competely truthful?

          When I lived in that part of the world, there were myriad tales of mirror factories being set up to provide duplicate products. Not just handbags or even iPhones; local companies knocked off major airplane parts. I recall trying to source a non-counterfeit Windows software package - simply not possible: couldn't be imported from outside so one had to buy a product from one of the local counterfeiters. All the genuine stuff was exported. Things may have changed but I saw no changes on the retail level when I was last in the region (2019). I guess the big boys have got better at tracking major rip-offs but the local market is exceptionally difficult to police.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yes, I knew the factory owner. The point is about the goods coming from the original factory not that other people counterfeit - everyone knows that happens, it's blatant. They won't be 'mirror' factories they might employ some people who were in the original factory to help set them up or just copy based on getting hold of an original (most likely)

            Sure there are myriads of tales but the tales of 'over supply' from the original contractor has very little evidence and is likely to be mostly a myth. Similar to how people would prefer to pretend they are selling/buying dodgy goods that are stolen ("fell off the back of a lorry") rather than the fact they are counterfeit. It helps for people to think the items are genuine and 'over supply' rather than just 'worthless' fakes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Confirming Gore-Tex

          I worked in the rag trade for a while for a company authorised to make Gore-Tex clothing. Gore-Tex is a great product, but it costs an arm and a leg and has massive production quality requirements and tracking control requirements. Fake Gore-Tex clothes might exist, but they are not common at all.

      2. gerryg

        For lack of anything else to watch I watched the biopic of Steve Jobs recently, great (no idea if fact based) an exchange between Jobs and Woz regarding launch of Macintosh "I don't want open systems"

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Yes, in terms of trademark law, they would be fine if they did not have the Apple logo on them, because nobody is claiming they were made by Apple, and therefore they are not counterfeit, just copies.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: You kill our right to repair, we'll stop buying your over priced tat.

      A few might stop buying. Many millions more won't.

      Net impact to Apple tends to zero. Consumer activism can't fix this. Only right-to-repair legislation can.

      1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

        Re: You kill our right to repair, we'll stop buying your over priced tat.

        Does anyone remember the old "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials? If I had enough money, I would run an ad like that, except it would go "I'm a Mac user --- And I am 'genius' bar employee'.

        Mac user -- "My Mac is broken"

        'Genius' bar employee -- Proceeds to start kicking the Mac user hard in the groin until he falls down, then when he is down spits on him and then loudly taunts him ... "SHUT UP AND BUY A NEW ONE!"

        Mac user -- "Thank you sir. Sorry sir. Here is my wallet."

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: You kill our right to repair, we'll stop buying your over priced tat.

          Could toss together some amateur production (live action or animated, either works) and post it on Youtube, LBRY, Vimeo, etc (the other sites besides YT because you KNOW crApple will manage to get YT to pull it). Heck, do a Japanese version and post it on NicoNico.

          Sure, won't get as much visibility, unless you can find a way to play the "Streisand Effect" when Apple demands it get pulled.

        2. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: You kill our right to repair, we'll stop buying your over priced tat.

          I actually do that to people who ask me if I fix Apple products.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You kill our right to repair, we'll stop buying your over priced tat.

          The few times I have needed the Apple Store staff they have been courteous and helpful. They solved my issues or moved the stuff to the tech people for review. 2 out of 3 the defective component was replaced FOC without any discussion.

          Yeah, I get it, it's all too slean and metro-sexual and wanky, but I can think of plenty of worse options.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Apple has lost money on repairs since 2009 then why does it have problem with others doing those repairs? Unless of course they were lying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why does it have problem with others doing those repairs?

      "If Apple has lost money on repairs since 2009 then why does it have problem with others doing those repairs?"

      They don't want to do repairs either. With no competition, they could raise repair prices, and stop losing money on it. But mainly they want repair to be generally too expensive, so people buy new phones from them.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: why does it have problem with others doing those repairs?

        Given the cost of the iPhone they could easily show a "loss" on the repair yet they have already made huge profit from the sale so keeping the customer "an apple customer" means they will keep making money when the battery dies and they buy a new phone.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Joke

      Of course they're making a loss, ask the accountants.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A small part of Apple can easily show a profit or a loss depending on what they are trying to portray. Look at repairs - if you load the costs of training, staff time, spare parts at full retail price, R&D on spare parts, specific factory processes to create parts that aren't put into final products, transportation, excess corporation charges for the repairs etc etc You can easily show a loss if you wish.

      However if you determine that the staff costs are fixed anyway, the parts are pulled form the line for another reason (QC etc), the parts are cost price, staff training is parts of induction to help them understand issues with the device etc then you can show a nice profit on it.

      How do you think these multi-billion dollar companies can be super rich but show losses or tiny profits almost everywhere they operate (other than those areas with low to zero tax rates).

      1. KBeee Bronze badge
        Devil

        Much like Return of the Jedi has never made a profit

    4. Chris G Silver badge

      I suspect ' lost money' translates to, a much smaller profit margin on repairs compared to selling a replacement phone.

    5. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Apple lying??? Who'd have thunk it?

    6. WolfFan Silver badge

      In about 2008 I had a relative who managed to detach the screen from the bezel on a MacBook of some type, it’s been a while and I can’t remember the exact model. She managed to hold the screen in using electrician’s tape, but this was obviously a non-optimal method of dealing with the matter. She asked me to fix it, because “you know about computers “. I took one look, and took it to the local Apple Store, where they said that they could fix it, by replacing the entire screen, bezel, and hinges, and such things as the antenna for the wireless. After labour, that would be approximately $1200. A new MacBook of the type cost $1100 at the time. I pointed that out. They said that they knew that. It was literally cheaper to buy a new laptop than to fix the old one. A local Apple authorized repair shop quoted $1000 to make the fix; Apple would give a years warranty, the repair people said three months. My relative elected to keep using the taped down screen for a month or two and then got a new MacBook. I inherited the taped down system, with was ugly but functioning, and lasted for two more years before finally collapsing. When new generation MacBooks came out, the price for similar fixes went down, but not by much. It’s still more cost-effective to buy a new one than to fix the old one for certain types of repairs. If the battery overheats and bulges, and there’s no permanent damage to the case of a laptop, the cost of a repair is fairly low. If the case is damaged, that means replacing the case, the motherboard, internal power, and a lot more, so again it’s cheaper to just get a new MacBook.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        "... so again it’s cheaper to just get a new MacBook."

        Even cheaper to get something that isn't Apple, both short- and long-term.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The trackpad on my MBA lasted 9 years. The trackpad on my Acer 6 months. As soon as lockdown ends, it's back to Acer for a replacement, 5 minutes before the guarantee expires

        2. Maventi

          Short-term, maybe. Long-term, no. I volunteer for charity work on a routine basis and we all use our own computers at the office. All the other volunteers use relatively new Windows 10 laptops and still ask me to do all the printing to the office printers as theirs never work properly while the Mac just works without effort.

          Since I bought the MacBook (my first) eight years ago all of the other staff have been through at least two (many three) brand new laptops due to parts breaking and general slow downs, while mine still looks and runs like brand new. They are all tempted by my MacBooks reputation in this org but still balk at purchase cost, despite admitting they've spent a higher combined total on their laptops over the same period as I have. I'll probably sell this laptop soon and still get a reasonable amount for it.

          Sure it's possible to get long life from PC hardware if you pay up front for it and carefully manage the OS throughout its lifetime, but then you still have a largely worthless machine after five years in terms of resale, even if it still works fine.

      2. SuperGeek

        So why didn't you buy parts off eBay or similar, from a Mac with damaged motherboard for example? Going to Apple or third party isn't the only option, especially if you really do" know about computers".

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Have a look at eBay. Depending on the screen, prices range from $100 to $1000 and more. The pricing then didn’t go as low as $100, but did exceed $1000. I found the cheaper units questionable and the expensive units about what I could pay locally, and have the locals do the work, and get a warranty. I said thanks but no thanks to eBay.

  7. Mark192 Bronze badge

    "Apple insisted some of these screens were counterfeit and did not originate from the company's supply chain."

    I assume it's still disputed that these are counterfeit? The article implied it but didn't explicitly state.

    1. DialTone

      I think it's the interpretation of "counterfeit" that's in question

      I remember first hearing about this case after he won the original case (leading to these final rounds of appeals) and while the issue was allegedly about having Apple logos on the products, with the exception of some genuine second-hand components, the remainder were apparently refurbished screens (certainly some had replaced glass, but it's not clear what other repairs) and that the Apple logos had been covered up with ink to prevent any claim that they were to be misrepresented.

      Even though Henry won his original case - that was despite the court acknowledging that the ink could easily have been removed - something Henry says he's not interested in (and that nobody would see them anyway) - they clearly also agreed that the logos being present (albeit covered) were not de facto indicators of intent to defraud (customers) or to infringe trademarks (Apple's). One can only surmise that Apple have convinced the higher courts otherwise.

      There's a Vice article about his earlier win here that alludes to some of the details:

      https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3yadk/apple-sued-an-independent-iphone-repair-shop-owner-and-lost

  8. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Apple

    The only way that Apple can say that it loses money on its repair business is by saying that a repair stops the owner from needing to buy a new iDevice. If Apple had their way then any scratch would require the owner to buy a new unit.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: If Apple had their way then any scratch would require the owner to buy a new unit.

      As would pretty much any other manufacturer. For all their other questionable attitudes, this particular attitude isn't unique to Apple.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: If Apple had their way then any scratch would require the owner to buy a new unit.

        No - some manufacturers pride themselves in repairability. Lenovo, for example, still produce repair manuals and parts. Other manufacturers don't chase repairers to the ends of the earth.

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: If Apple had their way then any scratch would require the owner to buy a new unit.

          Lenovo products are very much designed for long life and easy repair. If you're gonna use something for business then you need to be able to keep it running and not have it die on you leaving you stranded.

  9. JohnG Silver badge

    Around the world, refurbished automotive components are bought and sold every day - and they will typically have markings and labels from the OEM and the motor manufacturer concerned. The motor manufacturer's labelling is typically used to determine if a part is genuine and no motor manufacturers have been suing about the use of their trademarks in respective of refurbished original components - that would be plain silly.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      You're not exactly right apart car manufacturers. They fought for years and lost, over replacement parts. Then they went after garages, and lost, over honouring warranties serviced by 3rd parties.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes, you don't have to repair cars with OEM parts, and it doesn't invalidate the OEM warranty. But:

        a) The non-OEM parts can't be described or labelled as OEM;

        b) If they fail, the OEM is not liable for the failure.

        So, fit non-OEM disc pads and if, the gearbox fails, the OEM will repair it under any remaining warranty. If you crash because a pad detaches don't sue the OEM - you go after the garage that sold them to you.

        And, if you don't like Apple, don't buy their products.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Maybe Apple consumers only learn of these 'practices' once they have bought an Apple product and been bitten.

          At that point Apple doesn't care.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Apple does care about that - hence the walled garden.

  10. DivSpanClass

    2 weeks to repair in Apple Stores

    I use my Macbook 27/4. It was bought as a "business" product. Yet not one Apple store is capable of repairing the device same day. Moreover many stores want to post the device away for repair! Minimum turnaround is 2 weeks! Imagine being without a car for 2 days - let alone two weeks.

    Not one Apple store is capable of booking an appointment 6 months in the future to ensure the items are all in stock instead of accusing me of queue jumping. iFix it videos show the tools and parts required. Looks easy once you've done it a few times. There is nowhere to fix an Apple Product urgently. I build PCs but Apple's do not tamper policy means the risk outweighs the benefits.

    Giving a member of staff £30.00 for same day service did the trick though!

    1. DavCrav Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: 2 weeks to repair in Apple Stores

      "I use my Macbook 27/4"

      I think I know why it needed repairing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 weeks to repair in Apple Stores

      You buy apple

      You're part of the problem

  11. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

    If the repairer is telling his customers he is repairing it with genuine Apple parts, then he should be using those. It is his responsibility to make sure that the parts he uses are genuine Apple parts.

    However, the parts he was sent may well have been reconditioned/repaired with non-Apple parts so he may have been claiming to use Apple parts when they were not Apple parts, which is breach of copyright. It the same as selling fake Apple phones. His only recourse then would be to sue his suppliers if he was unaware that they were not genuine.

    If he didn't advertise that he repaired using genuine Apple parts, then he can repair them with parts from any source and Apple shouldn't have a leg to stand on.

    1. mordac

      Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

      The goods were intercepted at import and the *importer* was charged with trademark infringement. Why was it not the *exporter* that was charged? It doesn't sound as though they got a phone repaired by this shop and then prosecuted them for using dodgy components.

      If I buy a screen from HK or CN, and the seller advertises it as genuine, but when the goods arrive they are fake, why would I be the one to get prosecuted?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

        Because you aren't a business using them commercially and reselling them. Business have higher requirements than the general public on some matters. They are also required to warranty the items.

        However there is also cases where you as a member of the public can also come unstuck for buying goods. If you buy a stolen item then you may well find that the goods are taken off you with total loss even if you didn't *know* they were stolen. If you bought them from a genuine shop then you would have recourse to get your money back.

        If you were to buy illegal drugs and have them shipped form Columbia then you may find yourself prosecuted even though it was also the seller who was breaking the law in sending them to you.

        1. mordac

          Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

          I'll try again.

          Why was the company *selling* the infringing goods not being prosecuted for this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

            Who said they weren't?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

            Because Norway has a functioning legal system where you generally can't influence or bribe the judges and they are required to apply transparent standards of reasoning. Unlike the places to which Apple has outsourced its production. It's easier to sue a small guy in a Western country than to sue a supplier located elsewhere.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

          Those comparisons are not valid.

          "If you buy a stolen item then you may well find that the goods are taken off you with total loss even if you didn't *know* they were stolen."

          Yes, but you would not find yourself charged with theft, and even if you were, the charges would be dropped when they realized that you were also a victim. If you bought stolen goods without knowing they were stolen, you have not committed any crime. You would lose the item, and that would be the end of it.

          "If you were to buy illegal drugs and have them shipped form Columbia then you may find yourself prosecuted even though it was also the seller who was breaking the law in sending them to you."

          Because there are laws forbidding possession of those drugs. It doesn't matter where they came from; you would be equally culpable if you bought them locally.

          The point being that either the screens were actually refurbished or they were not. If they were refurbished then they aren't counterfeit, Apple has no case since they put the Apple logos on, and as long as they're not claimed to be new this repair tech should be fine to continue. If they were not refurbished, then they are counterfeit, and either the importer knew that or not. If they knew that, then they need to be charged with knowingly importing illegal goods, which they haven't been. If they didn't know it, then they should not be held responsible for a crime in which they are also the victim. Those are the three available options.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

        IANAL and I'm not 100% sure how the Norwegian government apply the EU requirement but, within the EU, any business that imports goods from outside the EU is responsible for ensuring they meet all relevant EU legislation. A business, as someone else has said, is assumed to know what it's doing. As a consumer (i.e. not a business), there is no prima facie assumption you are competent and, therefore, you are able to import for your personal use. You may face civil liability should your action injure somebody else of course...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

          As a non-EU company that trades with the EU, Norway must adhere to the EU regulations more strictly than EU member states, but without a vote on what those rules are. This is what the UK inexplicably voted for too.

          1. osakajin Bronze badge

            Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

            Is Brexit still a thing?

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

              Sadly. I expect it to die a death soon though

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: It all depends on how the repairs were sold!

      Apple are using a law intended to stop fake goods in order to prevent repairs. No one getting their phone repaired by a non-Apple repair place cares if the parts are Apple branded. They care that the repair is effective.

      Apple are stupid to try and prevent repairs because people become reliant on these gadgets and they won't buy Apple again if Apple deliberately let them down.

  12. DwarfPants

    This guy gave evidence in one of these cases

    Louis Rossmann gave evidence in one of these cases and posted a follow up video where he clarified the problem as not being refurbished screens but 3rd party replacements where the manufacturer had helpfully added an apple logo "for their domestic market".

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6w

    1. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

      Re: This guy gave evidence in one of these cases

      If salvaged, then the logo should have been legal.

      If not, then the most they should have been able to do is have them remove the logo.

      The destruction and court costs make no sense.

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Change Apple to Boeing or Airbus

    and think again about the case.

    Counterfeit aircraft parts is a huge problem. They look just like the real ones but the plane could fall out of the sky because said part failed in operation.

    I agree that Apple are wankers when it somes to repairs but they like all businesses have trademarks to defend. They also face many, many law suits for phones blowing up when being charged with what looks like a real Apple charger but isn't. There really is no middle ground here.

    1. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

      Re: Change Apple to Boeing or Airbus

      Airplane parts are required to be certified by the FAA, cellphone parts do not. No one has the right to dictate what parts are used for repairs, unlike planes.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Change Apple to Boeing or Airbus

      Apple has the right to complain about the use of their logo on screens they didn't make. They are correct to complain about that. Except they're complaining about the use of any screens during repairs, which they don't have the right to do, and they also complain about the logo being present on screens refurbished by someone else, where Apple put the logo on. The first thing makes sense. The next two do not.

    3. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Change Apple to Boeing or Airbus

      Planes don't fall out of the sky because the parts are counterfeit, they fall if the parts fail. Products should be correctly branded and serial numbered. Aircraft mechanics can then select parts based on official approval of that part.

  14. Zebo-the-Fat

    Mine!

    I have no intention of ever buying Apple stuff, it is over priced and the repair system is crap (but I admit they do look pretty) Anything I buy is then my property to do with as I wish, if I decide to use a non Apple repairer that is nothing to do with Apple - the equipment belongs to me not them, but I would not expect an Apple repair centre to fix it afterwards

    1. Timbo

      Re: Mine!

      "I have no intention of ever buying Apple stuff, it is over priced.....(but I admit they do look pretty)"

      I overheard pretty much a similar story from a couple in a hi-fi shop some time ago. The shop sold both typical black-faced (or silver-faced) Far Eastern manufactured hi-fi kit as well as Bang & Olufsen (made in Denmark).

      The wife liked the B&O as it was simple to operate, and looked "pretty" - while the man said he had no intention of buying B&O as it was over-priced, and wasn't "good value" and other brands "sounded better and were cheaper".

      So, not a lot of diffference...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daughters Ipad

    My daughters ipad had a sticky home button, so after been patronised by the apple store by made to book an appointment on-line and not in person (FFS), they said that they could repair it a half the cost i paid for it, ok so i sad and the shop assistant brought out a nice new shiny replacement, hang on i said my daughters ipad has been laser etched by apple how you going to replace that ? This completely threw the assistance for a while until she came up with the solution of a virtual home button on the home screen instead, lovely jubbly. Now I needed to ask something else for then to be told I need another online appointment, with that i left the store and vowed never to buy an apple product again.

  16. osakajin Bronze badge

    But how much in Zimbabwe dollars?

    1. Oddlegs

      Think your down voters rather missed the point of your comment.

      I'm all for completeness but isn't giving every single monetary amount in 4 different currencies a bit excessive? Surely only one of USD, GBP or EUR would have been sufficient.

  17. Lomax
    Thumb Down

    Apple: rotten to the core.

  18. Ex IBMer

    Trademark infringement has fascinating history

    Even from the article, it is clear that this is a simple trademark problem.

    All but one of the screens had an apple logo - Apple claimed that they were counterfeit. That's a trademark issue right there, and you can't win.

    I don';t believe that right to repair should be confused by trademark infringement issues.

    ""The core of the case is the right of repairers to access spare parts without Apple approval," wrote Maja van der Velden, informatics professor at the University of Oslo, in a blog post last year. "This right is under attack by Apple’s drive to control how and whom can repair the Apple products you own.""

    I used to work in the Trademarks office here in Australia, and during boring nights doing tape backups in the 90's I used to read the physical bound historical Trademarks Journals. They had fascinating legal cases. Even if its repaired, its not genuine. A similar trademark case law comes from the early 1900's, when companies were 'repairing' tyres by stripping out the metal bead from the rim, and mounding a new tyre around that. The only original component was the metal tyre. That was also found to be infringement.

    It would be much safer, for them to manufacture screens that were compatible, have no logos and then there would be no issues at all.

  19. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

    The courts totally goofed this one up.

    Apple has absolutely no right to claim you can't put in any third part parts you want, and if they are salvaged, they most certainly can retain their orignal Apple logo.

    That is the end of me ever buying any more Apple stuff.

  20. Champ

    <shrug>

    Just one more reason not to buy Apple. But I already had plenty of those

  21. SuperGeek

    Technically you don't "own" a device

    As more and more devices have more and more semiconductors, which in turn contain their own embedded software/firmware, which you DO NOT own, only a license to use, so technically Apple have a point. If the screens are indeed counterfeit they're likely to have counterfeit firmware in the control circuitry.

    Look at what John Deere tried with their tractors. Stopping mechanics or farmers tuning/repairing the vehicles because of copyrighted ECU code. The more software controlled semiconductors we get, the bigger this grey area becomes, unless everyone in the semiconductor industry switches to open source firmware, which in the case of vehicles will NEVER happen for safety reasons. And profit, of course!

    1. jtaylor

      Re: Technically you don't "own" a device

      I think we agree, though I would choose different words.

      When I purchase an item, I have certain consumer rights, like a warranty. I also have certain property rights: for example, the manufacturer cannot take ownership without compensation, and I can re-sell the item. Apple can cancel my license to use their software, but they cannot send a bailiff to take my Mac.

      It's exactly those rights which are under attack by some manufacturers. I believe that they attempt to muddy the waters, and we must maintain that distinction between ownership and license-to-use.

      I hope that John Deere ends up on the wrong side of the law so unpleasantly that VolksWagen celebrates how lucky they were.

  22. mhenriday
    Boffin

    Is anyone,

    save the hapless Herr Huseby, so naive as to think that Norges Høyesterett would allow him to win a case against Apple itself ? After all, we are talking about Norway ; just look at the list of US Presidents and Secretaries of State who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize....

    Henri

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