Chinese version iPhone... Illegal?

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hockeyplyr1034
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28 Jan 08 08:32:56 pm
I am looking into selling phones from China very similar to the Apple iPhone. It has a touch screen, works with some major carriers, etc... I was just wondering if it is 100% legal to sell these things in the US? I know for sure if it had the Apple or iPhone logo on it anywhere it would be illegal but these do not.

Did Apple copyright anything else that might cause this phone to be illegal?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

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hockeyplyr1034
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4 Feb 08 09:04:37 pm
Come on, I know somebody on here can help me out. Please

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danny37
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9 Feb 08 03:05:37 am
I Don't think its illegal in the U.S. But if you are going to sell them make sure you state they are not Iphones and are not a apple brand if you don't this can get you in to some mess I would suggest you to do your research first. I have sold similar items but made sure I stated they are not name brand.

And make sure the items you are selling don't say Apple Iphone on it

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hockeyplyr1034
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9 Feb 08 05:46:54 am
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Thanks for the info!

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inuke
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12 Feb 08 10:29:13 am
unless they buy from US direct..

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fm1234
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12 Feb 08 06:03:39 pm
iPhone is not the only touch screen phone; the Wizard HTC has been out for years. The Voyager (Nokia I think) is a direct head-to-head competitor to the iPhone, like comparing a Honda Accord and a Toyota Camry. There is nothing illegal about selling something which has similar features to another product, you just obviously can't claim it is the better-known product. I'd pull up data (especially price!) on other better-known touch phones and run the comparison on several at once rather than just comparing it to the iPhone.


Frank


"Failure is not when you fall down. Failure is when you don't get back up."

--J.J. Luna
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hockeyplyr1034
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14 Feb 08 02:02:17 am
Thanks for the info. Well, I have done some more research and even went as far as contact Apple's legal dept. which has not yet responded which seems interesting to me.

I have found that these phones use completely different software's, there is no pirated software here.

These phones also don't have any logos or labels on them claiming to be any big name brand.

The only thing that causes me some concern is the design. Do you think it is possible for Apple to have some kind of patent on the design of their iPhone? Because if they do, then this definitely has a large possibility of being illegal since it looks pretty much identical to the iPhone.

I contacted Apple's legal dept and they haven't responded. I told them I was interested in selling these, maybe that was a mistake. They still have yet to respond. My thinking is that they really don't want to tell me that it is legal because of the competition and/or, they cannot legally tell me that it is illegal.

Any insight? Thanks!

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danny37
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14 Feb 08 07:17:19 am
Here is a link I found check it out apples copyrights:

Link hidden: Login to view

I think you can sell the item just state not apple brand.

I am not a lawyer or a copyrighter but I do sell products online.
here is an example I can give you that can help.

When you go to the grocery store you will find frosty flakes which is a name brand right. and guess what will you find next to it ?

A store brand that looks just like frosty flakes but it say store brand flakes. exp: sugar flakes.

Now sugar fake sells for a lower price then frosty flakes and they stock them right next to the frosty flakes. and big super markets carry these store bands which have there name on it.

So will the big super market chains take a risk making a store brand product that looks like a brand name. if there was a rick

No the super markets will not put there names on it or even try to sell them if there was a risk.

So to the answer to your question is yes you can sell them.

but like I stated above do not say they are apple brand or iphone brand. because Iphone is trademarked by apple.

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fm1234
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14 Feb 08 06:40:49 pm
Hockeyplyr1034

Honestly, you are way over-thinking the issue. What sort of patent can be filed on a touch phone? 'It's a rectangle with a screen.' If that's the case, then HTC and other smart phone manufacturers have Apple beaten by years.

Some cell phone designs certainly do merit patenting, and many probably are, but if there's anything special about the iPhone on the outside it's news to me.

I would be amazed if Apple bothers to respond to you -- and the fact is, unless you were outright defrauding people by claiming to be selling iPhones, it most likely wouldn't matter how similar the product was until you were selling thousands of them a month. They simply have no incentive to bother with it on a small scale.


Frank


"Failure is not when you fall down. Failure is when you don't get back up."

--J.J. Luna
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hockeyplyr1034
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14 Feb 08 08:10:44 pm
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.

One response to the topic...
'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. '

I think that might be true. This phone is virtually impossible to differentiate from the iPhone from the outside which causes me concern.

But I also see what you mean about selling on a small scale, but no matter if I sell one or 1000 of these a month, Apple could take legal action.

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. 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.

I have to get an official answer. Do you think contacting a lawyer familiar with copyright laws might be the right thing to do?

Thanks again for all the info!

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fm1234
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15 Feb 08 06:01:03 pm
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.


Frank


"Failure is not when you fall down. Failure is when you don't get back up."

--J.J. Luna
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hockeyplyr1034
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15 Feb 08 07:57:32 pm
Alright, I really appreciate your time. It looks like you put a lot of thinking into this and you have made several good points.

I think I am going to contact a lawyer about this matter. Thank you everybody for your valuable time and thoughts that you contributed.

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bacpro
Posts: 331
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5 Mar 08 01:34:59 pm
I sold a bunch of these on several Auction sites
and made a few bucks. The problem now
with selling these is that every body has started
to sell them. Now you can find them on ebay
everywhere...So it not a big deal selling them
just don't mention the fruit companys name.

John (aka bacpro)
PS: Tax time everybody, I'm selling Tax Cut software cheep on ebay.
go get your copy:
Link hidden: Login to view


J Baca

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