It seems Apple’s legal team managed to take some time out of suing Samsung to file a lawsuit against a New York City teenager who made $130,000 selling white iPhone 4 conversion kits before the device was launched.
Fei Lam recognized the demand for the white iPhone 4 and set up whiteiPhone4now.com to cash in on Apple’s continued delay of the device’s official release. Lam developed a secondhand relationship with someone at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China, where many of Apple’s products are manufactured. This contact was able to supply Lam with white iPhone 4 parts which he sold on as conversion kits at up to $295 a piece to those who couldn’t wait any longer for the device, including Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Obviously Apple didn’t take too kindly to Lam’s newfound business and yesterday it filed a lawsuit in which it claims Lam engages in deceptive practices, according to MacRumors. Lam is claimed to have diluted and infringed Apple’s trademark – compromising its relationship with customers by causing confusion over whether there was an official release of the white iPhone 4.
Apple’s complaint reads:
Defendent Lam willfully and without authorization has used Apple’s trademarks in connection with the sale of his “White iPhone 4 Conversion Kits,” which among other things included white front and back panels with Apple’s logo and “iPhone” trademarks that are used in connection with the promotion and sale of Apple’s well known iPhone 4 handheld mobile digital electronic devices. Defendant at all times knew that Apple never has authorized the sale of white panels for its iPhone 4 mobile devices, and that he obtained these panels from sources that were not authorized by Apple or any of its suppliers to sell them.
The complaint also contains quotes taken from instant message conversation between Lam and Alan Yang – a business owner in China who was supplying Lam with his parts. These conversations revealed Yang was running into difficulties with shipping the parts as customs agents in Hong Kong became suspicious of trademark infringements.
It’s not just Lam himself named on the complaint, however – his parents are also on it, too. Apple believes they helped and encouraged Lam to set up his business, allowing him to engage in these activities while he was a minor under their supervision. However, it seems the lawsuit may have been over before it began.
At the same time as filing its complaint, Apple also filed a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit, which suggests a settlement between Apple and Lam has already been reached. It’s unclear what Apple may have obtained from the Lams as settlement, however, it has requested a permanent injunction preventing the Lams from any further sales, forfeiture of all profits from the sale of white iPhone parts, reimbursement for legal expenses, and additional financial retribution.