Quick question: What do you see in the photo above?
An Apple employee helping out a curious customer?
Sure, it might look that way, but the photo above is actually from one of those famed counterfeit Apple retail stores in China. Yep, whereas Apple used to have a problem with people producing iPhone knockoffs, Apple now has to contend with people creating knockoff, and surprisingly similar, Apple retail stores.
In a story that first broke a few weeks ago, the Chinese city of Kumming was found to have not one, not two, but a grand total of five fake Apple stores all operating on the same square block. Now two of these said stores were subsequently closed after Chinese authorities found that they were operating without a proper business license. As far we can tell, the remaining three are still open for business.
Apple of course takes its intellectual property with utmost seriousness and was none too thrilled with the brazen misappropriation of its copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress. Consequently, Apple filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York last week looking to shut down these fake counterfeit outlets.
Included in the complaint are 50 John Does and unnamed business. Interestingly enough, one named business isn’t located abroad but actually in New York City. Apparently there’s a smartphone accessory store in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens that goes by “Apple Story”. Now isn’t that cute?
Unfortunately the lawsuit is sealed so we can’t comment with certainty as to who else Apple is going to court with. After all, those fake Apple stores seem to be a lot more voluminous than anyone initially thought.