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Fake NY Apple stores told to surrender faux goods

Proposed settlement in trademark infringement case tells two Queens stores accused of selling fake Apple goods to stop selling the phony items and hand over all knock-offs.

The outside of the fake Apple store in Kunming, China, that started all the fake-Apple-store hoopla. BirdAbroad

Two privately owned stores in Queens, N.Y., accused of peddling unauthorized Apple accessories have agreed to surrender any fake Apple products in their inventories, according to a proposed settlement registered today in federal court in Brooklyn.

The settlement, if approved, would resolve a trademark-infringement lawsuit filed in July against defendants including Apple Story Inc and FunZone Inc, two shops in the Chinatown section of Flushing, Queens. The shops--which sell cases, headsets, and other accessories for Apple products--still say they haven't violated any Apple trademarks.

According to the trademark infringement suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York, Apple frowned upon the news that there were "Apple stores" in New York that the company didn't know about back in Cupertino. And it was probably a less-than-Lex Luthor/evil genius move for the owners of said stores to name one of them "The Apple Story." That may have been a bit of a giveaway, unless we were supposed to think the shop was a museum dedicated to the history of Granny Smiths.

The other offending shop is called FunZone, which sounds more like an '80s arcade than a knock-off electronics shop getting heat with one of the world's biggest corporations. According to Apple's court filing, the design of the unauthorized iPhone and iPod cases sold by the two stores bear the phrase "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China."

If a U.S. District court approves the proposed settlement, the shop owners will have "five days to turn over any counterfeit products in their inventories," according to a Reuters report. That includes anything with "labels, packaging, promotional materials, and other items that bear any Apple trademarks, including the well-known image of an apple and proprietary phrases such as 'iPod' and 'iPad.'" The defendants (Apple Story owner Janice Po Chiang and FunZone manager Jimmy Kwok) must also preserve all records pertaining to "the manufacture, distribution, sale, or receipt" of the fake Apple items.

The suit was filed following widespread reports of a fake Apple retail look-alike shop in Kunming, a city in southwest China. The investigation that led to the closure of that store and others in the area found that all were selling Apple-made hardware that had been purchased from third-party authorized resellers.

Apple filed the suit after sending in its own private investigators to buy "hundreds of dollars' worth of the alleged fakes" from both New York stores earlier this year, Reuters reports.