Apple taken to court over counterfeit app

Apple logoA Chinese firm is taking the US technology giant Apple to court for "criminally defrauding" its customers.

Lufax, a company from Shanghai, China, is suing Apple under four counts for allowing a "counterfeit app" to be sold on iTunes App Store since July of this year. 

The firm says it had notified Apple of the app but adds that the tech company failed to respond to their request within 60 days and so has filed a lawsuit to have the app removed.

Lufax filed a statement with the court in San Francisco saying: "Lufax brings this action to enjoin Apple from distributing, via its iTunes App Store, a counterfeit iOS application that illegally appropriates Lufax's trademark and business name for the purpose of criminally defrauding Lufax's customers."

The firm is well-known in China and operates a wealth and financial asset management business. It is also a subsidiary of Ping, an insurance group company of China – in fact the second largest insurance firm in the country.

Lufax says it has also discovered that the solo developer of the counterfeit app, which uses its business name, appears to operate a large-scale scam operation in China.

The purpose of this scam is to manufacture fake apps in attempts to defraud customers of well-known businesses.

The counterfeiting simply adds the name ‘App’ to the end of each business name to make it appear genuine.

For example, this developer also publishes an app for the arts and antiques dealer Sotheby's by adding the "App" suffix to Sotheby’s official Chinese name. The counterfeit Sotheby app also fraudulently represents that the application is for the company’s genuine business.

The four counts against Apple include: false representation (under Lanham Act); unfair competition (Under Lanham Act); common law trademark infringement (Under California Law); and unfair business practices (Under California Law). Apple has not responded before the filing of this complaint.

The case is: Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange, Co., Ltd. v. Apple Inc.

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