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Two Fake Apple stores closed down

Posted by on 25/07/2011

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Two fake Apple stores operating Kunming, China have been closed down for not having business license, and not because of copyright concerns.

Chinese officials have stepped in, investigating a total of 5 stores selling Apple products under the veil of an official Apple store. While all 5 stores were deemed to be fake and were not officially licensed by Apple themselves to distribute products, the authorities have only shut down a total of two shops, because they operated without a business license.

One of those 5 shops has since applied for an official license from Apple to continue distribution, while the others 2 remain in operation. Apple and other American corporations have expressed their displeasure with Chinese businessmen for stealing their concepts and ideas and re-branding the newly formed businesses with names (most of the times very similar in nature). The Chinese authorities stated that they took steps to make sure the stores themselves were not selling bogus merchandise, and since all 5 didn’t commit any wrongdoings (with respect to products being sold), they were not penalized on that basis.

“Media should not misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions. Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products. China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights and the stores weren’t selling fake products.” – Chang Puyun, spokesman of Kunming government’s business bureau.

It’s hard to say whether this is true though because these Apple stores would have never been shut down if it were not for the burst of media exposure brought on as a result of an American blogger posting pictures of the fake stores on his site. While Chinese law states that stores should not copy the “look and feel” of other brands, it doesn’t seem to apply in this case (and we don’t know why). One of the shops continued operations under the name “Apple Story”, which clearly is a letter’s difference of the Apple Store.

This isn’t the first time that China and other nations have battled over the theft of the look and feel of a store. The car industry in China is notorious for copying designs from international brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Rolls Royce, and many others.

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