Apple sues distributor for supplying fakes on Amazon

Technology giant Apple has filed a lawsuit which claims that almost 90 per cent of Apple-branded iPhone chargers and accessories on Amazon are fakes.

The lawsuit, which is against the New Jersey-based distributor Mobile Star, follows an investigation by Apple where it purchased 100 supposedly genuine Apple-branded products on Amazon only to find that almost 90 per cent were counterfeit.

Apple also alleges that Mobile Star is selling counterfeits through e-commerce marketplace Groupon.

The fakes, specifically 5-watt USB power adapters and Lightning-to-USB cables, "pose a danger to consumer safety," it claims.

"These counterfeits have the potential to overheat, catch fire, and deliver a deadly electric shock to consumers while in normal use," the company said. One Amazon customer review claimed an adaptor caught fire.

Following the investigation, Amazon, which sold the products directly through 'Fulfilled by Amazon', alleged that Mobile Star was the source of the counterfeit products and turned over other products to Apple that it had purchased from the distributor. The fake products have been removed from sale.

"The safety of Apple's customers is of paramount importance to Apple, and Apple devotes significant resources to ensuring its power products meet industry safety standards and are subjected to rigorous testing for safety and reliability. Apple brings this suit to stop Mobile Star from any further distribution of counterfeit Apple products to the public," the lawsuit said.

Amazon has faced recent criticism over its efforts to tackle counterfeit listings. This week, claims surfaced that counterfeit CDs of recent releases were being sold on the e-commerce site through the 'Fulfilled by Amazon' system and were undercutting the prices of official genuine versions.

Apple alleges that Amazon continually lists thousands of counterfeit Apple products. It is forced to constantly monitor the site and reports thousands of counterfeit listings to Amazon every month. "Fake Apple products continue to flood," the tech giant said.

Amazon said in a statement: "[We have] zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively."

Apple is seeking an injunction against Mobile Star and damages, including compensation of up to $2m per infringed trademark and up to $150,000 for each violated copyright.

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