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article imageApple finds 90 percent of brand products sold on Amazon are fakes

By James Walker     Oct 20, 2016 in Business
Apple has complained that Amazon is putting consumer safety at risk by selling vast amounts of fake goods on its site. The company says over 90 percent of Apple-branded power accessories found on the U.S. version of Amazon are not genuine products.
Apple made the claim in a trademark lawsuit against Mobile Star LLC, uncovered by Patently Apple. Mobile Star makes accessories for smartphones and other electronic devices. Apple thinks it is using its trademarks illegally, creating counterfeit "Apple" power adapters and charging cables that infringe on its brand and could pose risks to customers.
In its lawsuit, Apple alleges that counterfeit power products "pose an immediate threat to consumer safety." Not all third-party power cables undergo the same stringent safety tests as official products and can be poorly constructed. Wires are commonly wound too tightly, leaving the products susceptible to overheating and catching fire.
According to Apple, Mobile Star's products are dangerous and deceptive. It accused the company of creating accessories deliberately designed to trick people into thinking they're buying genuine Apple devices. Its own products have passed a wide range of consumer safety tests to ensure they operate as designed.
While Apple is only pursuing Mobile Star at the moment, its lawsuit expresses discontent at Amazon's reluctance or inability to remove these products from its site. It brought the lawsuit after purchasing a selection of items claiming to be its own devices, power cables and Lightning accessories over a period of nine months. Out of the 100 "Apple" products it accumulated, just 10 percent were genuine.
"When consumers encounter [Apple trademarks] and decide to purchase goods and services identified by these marks, they expect to receive genuine Apple products that have been produced by Apple," the company's lawsuit states.
Apple is accusing Amazon in the case because Mobile Star's products were being sold by the company directly, rather than third-party vendors. Amazon agreed to turn over Mobile Star's inventory to Apple, allowing it to ascertain the majority of its listed products were fakes. Apple concludes that Amazon's reputation and the deceptive marketing on Mobile Star's listings would leave customers with little to no reason to believe they're buying counterfeit goods.
The problems with non-genuine power accessories can be found within Amazon's own review pages for the products in question. Several reviewers claim their purchases overheated or caught fire shortly after entering use. One customer wrote "after a few hours of use on the very first day, the charger literally caught on fire," adding "I'm appalled that the seller and Amazon support selling a product like this."
In a statement to Business Insider, Amazon said it has "zero tolerance" for the sale of counterfeits on its site. "We work closely with manufacturers and brands and pursue wrongdoers aggressively," a spokesperson said. Apple's discovery that 90 percent of its branded products listed on the site are fakes should be a cause for concern though.
With consumers likely to be none the wiser, it will take a tougher stance from Amazon or more lawsuits like this to get the potentially "life-threatening" chargers taken off the site. Apple is currently pursuing Mobile Star to cease infringing on its trademarks, forfeit and destroy all manufactured counterfeit products and pay damages. It is also sending a stern warning to Amazon that it will no longer tolerate its lack of action against sellers of fake products.
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