August 30, 2011
WikiLeaks Docs Shed Light On Counterfeit Apple Products
According to documents released by WikiLeaks, Apple was slow to act against the counterfeit industry in China and other Asian countries.
An electronic memo from the Beijing embassy dated September 2008 said that Apple eventually organized a team in March 2008 to curtail the explosion of knockoff iPods and iPhones.
In July this year, an American blogger living in China uncovered five electronics retailers posing as official Apple Stores. The publicity and a request from Apple's Shanghai office prompted Kunming city officials to investigate, and it said the stores were forced to remove all Apple trademarks. However, updated photos showed that the stores had not changed much, just opted for a different name.
The WikiLeaks documents show that Apple's early plans for taking on counterfeiters included first taking on street vendors and retailers, then going after factories that build the fake gadgets.
The leaked cables say “Low-profile raids are a good option for Apple, a company that wants to stay away from too much publicity surrounding this issue."
Apple has reportedly appealed unsuccessfully with the government multiple times by claiming that fake products could injure people and claiming that fakes would make Apple lose money.
An April 2009 cable says that it refused to investigate a plant manufacturing phony Apple laptops in March 2009, because it could hurt local jobs.
The leaked documents also said the government declined to raid the electronics store because it did not want to deter shoppers.
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