Ok, thanks for all the great info. I see what're you're saying but I'm getting mixed responses from everybody. I posted this same topic on eBay forums and they all tell me no, definitely illegal, everybody here is saying it is legal.
I wouldn't go to the eBay forum to ask what time of day it is, let alone a legal question ... but okay, I will point out that I haven't actually seen the particular phone to which you're referring, and I am simply pointing out what should be (actually 'is') obvious: if anyone has a patent on 'rectangle with a screen' it is definitely not Apple, because such interfaces -- complete with touch screens -- have been around for years.
'Not only is the design of the iPhone protected under the law, but so is the User Interface. Apple filed a patent on the User Interface. What that means is that even software that is different from Apple's but copies the way the iPhone works could be problematic. '
The UI is what makes the iPhone special, it has nothing to do with 'rectangle with a screen.' It's a Mac-like-iPod-ish-phone-thing that is totally awesome in its own right. And Apple no doubt has a patent on it. If Apple has filed for a patent on 'touch screen phone' I'm pretty sure it got laughed out of the office, since touch screen phones were around for a long time before the iPhone. I don't know if they would try 'touch screen phone with no buttons' but if they did, I'd be astonished if it was approved. My HTC has -- hang on a sec -- just counted, it shockingly has ten buttons on it; I literally have no idea what most of them do because the whole thing runs off of the screen, just like an iPhone. And I got this thing in late 2005, well before I'd ever heard of an iPhone.
See what I am saying? There's no doubt that Apple has a legit patent on the visual style of the iPhone, and a total lock on the innards and software, but the idea that no one else can manufacture 'rectangles with screens' is hilarious.
I think that might be true. This phone is virtually impossible to differentiate from the iPhone from the outside which causes me concern.
Look closely! If it's a literal visual knockoff then that particular phone might be problematic, but again I am referring to snazzy touch phones in general vs. somebody building something that could be mistaken for an iPhone from a short distance.
The reason I'm so hesitant is I got into the sports jersey business with jerseys from China, you know what that means. I didn't even know they were fake until eBay contacted me one day and told me my account was suspended for copyright infringement. And yes, they were displaying labels that automatically made them counterfeit, but I'm still hesitant because it's scary stuff.
Totally different. I hope you took home a valuable lesson from that (ie. 'virtually nothing in China is original, never ever ever buy something with a US company logo on it from a distributor in China, etc.')
Some of the people I knew in that business had to hire lawyers because Reebok was suing them. I don't even want to touch these things if they might be illegal for the slightest reason.
It's not, but I'm as deep in this as I'm going to get. Go to a lawyer since that will get you a definitive answer.