If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Apple should truly be flattered. Not only do companies like Samsung take ‘Apple inspiration’ to questionable levels, but some enterprising folks in China have taken to wholly copying the look and feel, not to mention trademarks, of Apple’s retail stores.
A few weeks ago, 5 counterfeit Apple Stores were found to be operating in Kumming, China. These knockoff stores spared no detail and included touches like Apple-style wooden tables, with one store going so far as to construct a winding spiral staircase to emulate the Apple retail experience.
Soon thereafter, 2 of said 5 stores were shut down by Chinese authorities because they lacked proper business licensure. Clearly not satisfied, Apple last week filed a lawsuit against 50 John Does and unnamed business looking to put an end to the illegal Apple knockoff racket. Apple’s complaint is sealed so we don’t have an idea as to who the company is going after specifically. Meanwhile, 22 additional stores were found to be operating in Kumming late last week.
Clearly, the profitability of these stores is such that Kumming can support upwards of 27 of them operating concurrently.
But in a sign that Apple’s crackdown (with the help of Chinese authorities of course) is starting to bear fruit, MIC Gadget is reporting that Apple Store copycats in the region are starting to change their names.
To wit, this former “Apple Store” now goes by “Smart Store”
This “Smart Store” front, however, still kept the Apple Logo on the outside in two places.
Well, it’s a start I suppose.