Sour Apple Harasses iPhone Repair Shop With Relentless Counterfeit Suit
When it comes to the Right to Repair movement, Apple is definitely not onboard. Apple is a company that feels that its devices are so complex that regular consumers shouldn't be burdened with tasks such as replacing the battery or a cracked display on their devices -- even people with the proper skillset to do so.
This staunch defense of its IP and how it is handled post-sale extends to third-party repair shops that aren't "Apple Certified". In the case of one Norwegian repair company, Apple has unleashed its legal attack dogs over a relatively small sum of money. According to a report by Motherboard, Apple decided to sue the owner of PCKompaniet, Henrik Huseby, over components that he purchased to replace in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S smartphones.
More specifically, it related to refurbished display panels that he had purchased worth a grand total of just under $3,600. Apple actually went through the trouble of having his shipment of 63 display screens seized by Norwegian customs agents, and asked Huseby to admit guilt in purchasing counterfeit goods.
But considering that the parts that he bought were refurbished and weren't being sold as official Apple components, he decided to fight back and actually won his case against the tech giant (the court determined that since no Apple logo was visible, Apple couldn’t use the counterfeit claim). Not content with just turning its back on less than $4,000 worth of merchandise, Apple appealed the decision, and it is now being heard this week in an appellate court.
Apple's decision to go after Huseby (on the basis of counterfeit goods) is puzzling given that the aforementioned refurbished nature of the devices, the fact that the Apple logo was covered on the replacement components, and that customers would never even see the Apple logo in the first place once the display was placed into a phone.
In this case, Apple is using its immense legal muscle and its war chest of cash to go after legitimate repair outlets that are simply providing a service to customers. And by going after small firms like this, Apple knows that they don't have the financial means for a protracted legal fight, hoping that they will eventually just settle the matter. The only other option for many shops in this case is to file for bankruptcy if they don't accept Apple's onerous terms.
Under settlement terms, repair shops targeted by Apple would likely be forced to close up shop altogether or agree to become a certified Apple repair center and purchase "genuine" Apple components at inflated prices. Again, this is an untenable situation for many small outfits as Apple's pricing for components would greatly reduce margins or make them practically non-existent. Oh, and we can’t forget “kill switches” that Apple puts in its products which are yet another attempt at stifling independent repair shops.
Apple is waging battles like this across the world -- even in the United States -- as its looks to control the narrative of how its devices are manufactured, sold, used, and repaired at every step of the journey. If you need any more evidence of this train of thought, just look at Apple’s partnership with Amazon which has crushed hundreds, if not thousands of third-party sellers that use the Amazon Marketplace to sell refurbished Apple gear.