i5 Released in China – Not by Apple!
Tim Whibley posted on September 10, 2012 |
Goophone i5Goophone i5

The old saying goes "you reap what you sow", and as Apple found out last week, this age old adage is still relevant today. Apple recently emerged as a victor after a long and hard fought legal battle against Samsung. Apple's claim that Samsung had copied the designs of innovative Apple products was rewarded with a minimum $1.05B in damages and up to $3.15B if the judge determines that willful infringement warrants triple damages in this case. Further litigations and injunction requests are on-going in this high-stakes battle.

Now it seems that a Chinese company – a smart phone brand imitator - is threatening to sue Apple according to gizchina.com. If the American gadget giant tries to sell the soon to be announced iPhone 5 in China, provided this new version is similar in design to the Chinese imitation of the iPhone 5 (dubbed i5), the company, Goophone, claims it will sue to protect its rights (Goophone has actually patented its design in China). That’s right, an imitation version of Apples iPhone 5, which was based upon leaked design photos, and was released in advance of the announcement of the Apple iPhone 5, is threatening to ban Apple from selling a copy of the copy in China. Phew! Comical? Somewhat for sure. Fortunately for Apple in this instance, IP rights in China have not exactly been a priority for the regime.

The Goophone i5 is currently on sale now in China, and appears to resemble some design features that have been precipitously leaked over the past year showing what some believe the Apple iPhone5 could look like. In fact, the Goophone even copied the branding style and rear silkscreen features usually seen on iPhones. The most important feature - the O/S - obviously couldn't be copied, so the poser i5 uses a version of Android for its software engine.

I guess the moral of the story is two-fold – touting a monetary win in the billions of dollars for design infringement can garner a lot of attention, often unwanted attention. Secondly, IP rights become important to a company when it feels it has something to lose, even when that company violated those same rights in the past. You reap what you sow.

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