Apple goes after knock-off MacBook power adapter sellers in patent dispute

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They don’t do it often, but when they do, Apple doesn’t like to mess around when it comes to suing other electronics companies for infringing upon their patents and intellectual properties. No, Apple lawsuits tend to end like a round of Mortal Kombat, at least figuratively. Close your eyes and you can mentally transpose Steve Jobs for Sub-Zero; as the judgment comes down, he holds aloft the fluid-spurting spinal column of a defeated opponent while screaming and staring into the sun. The internet then provides the commentary: FATALITY.

Bad news indeed, then, for Media Solutions Holdings, who must already be feeling the twinge of legal lumbar pain. Last week, Apple filed a patent infringement lawsuit against them, claiming that the company is using a host of different websites (such as laptopsforless.com, laptopacadapter.com and ereplacements.com) to sell knock-off MacBook and MacBook Pro MagSafe power adapters.

According to Apple’s legal claim, “The Defendants’ infringing conduct has damaged Apple and inflicted irreparable harm.” Apple isn’t elaborating on what the actual fiduciary value of that harm might be, probably knowing that any money they get from a few websites selling knock-off MagSafes wouldn’t even be considered “walking around money” in the Pussy Cat Clubs of Cupertino, but they are seeking an injunction preventing the defendants from selling their MagSafe clone adapters. Perhaps not so consequently, the offending adapters have already been removed from Media Solution Holdings’ websites.

Apple’s certainly in their legal right here: judging from the line-drawing illustrations comparing the designs of Apple’s power adapter patent with photographs of the power adapters sold by the defendants, it appears to be an open-and-shut case. But it’s hard not to feel at least a twinge of sympathy for the defendants, and not just because they are about to have their skeletons kicked out of their bodies in court. Cheap, third-party adapters are available for almost every other laptop on the market, short of Apple’s MacBook line.

Let’s face facts: Apple’s MagSafe power adapters do have a hefty premium attached at the price of $79 each, and personally, I’ve had the magnetic tips of a good couple of them melt into a burnt marshmallow gob of goo over the last three years. A cheaper option is certainly welcome, especially when you’re out of warranty.

That all said, there’s really no reason to go to a shady knock-off dealer: Amazon’s selling official MagSafe power adapters right now for about half their retail price. No reason to make deals with nefarious, patent-infringing scoundrels at that price.

[via Information Week]

  • Citizen Baulerio

    A “hefty premium”?  That’s a very nice way of saying “f***ing rip off”!