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Selling counterfeit Apple 5W Adapters sales can lead to serious unwanted legal liability

Posted by Steve Vondran | Jun 21, 2020

Attorney Steve® - Counterfeit Apple Products - iPhones, Cables, 5W adapters, thunderbolt and more

Apple counterfeit piracy defense lawyer


You need to be careful what you are selling on eBay.  The sharks are out looking for eBay and Etsy sellers who may be selling counterfeit products (such as Apple products, or L.A. Gem and Jewelry pendants for example), and products that violate the intellectual property of other company (for example, violating their patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets).

Many company scour the internet using "secret shoppers" to make purchases of products they believe infringe on their IP, and them sending them cease and desist letters, and the letters often seek to know more about the supply chain, where you purchased the products for resale (ex. Alibaba) and how much money you made selling their products claimed to be counterfeits or otherwise infringing their IP.

We can help companies and individuals respond to federal court lawsuits (we have appeared in over 175) and in responding to "cease and desist" demand letters and other related disputes.

Click here to learn more about the various potential causes of action a Plaintiff may allege against a seller of counterfeit products

Potential counterfeiting causes of action.

What are they looking for?

When you or your company are accused of trademark infringement (ex. under the Lanham Act), or Copyright infringement you may receive a demand letter from the prestigious IP law firm of Kirkpatrick Townsend.  This is a powerhouse law firm with many skilled intellectual property attorneys.  Here are some of the things the letter might be requesting:

  • Supply chain information (who do you buy or sell to/from)
  • Sales and purchasing receipts 
  • Records of all sales made (how much money did you make)
  • Names of other people who may be involved in your operation
  • Other

We can review these letters, negotiate with opposing counsel, and try to limit your legal liability.  Call us if you received a letter and we offer a free initial case review. 

What is the ICC?

The ICC refers to the International Chamber of Commerce.  According to their website:

"We are the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries with a mission to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere.  Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, we promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world's leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce. We represent business interests at the highest levels of intergovernmental decision-making, whether at the World Trade Organization, the United Nations or the G20 – ensuring the voice of business is heard."

As noted below they created BASCAP.

What is BASCA

According to the IIC website:

"ICC created Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) to raise awareness of the economic and social harm of counterfeiting and piracy and to petition for greater commitments by local, national and international authorities in the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights.  BASCAP connects and mobilizes companies from businesses across industries, sectors and national borders to achieve results more effectively than any company can accomplish alone. BASCAP strengthens each member's  efforts to protect its brand and investments from the illegal practices of counterfeiting and piracy."

Violation of "Trade Dress" protection?


Here is a description of their mark from the USPTO trademark search site.  Notice, that they are not seeking protection for a NAME, or LOGO, or SLOGAN (typical things companies seek a trademark for), they are seeking to protect only the DESIGN (referred to as "Trade Dress" which is a form of intellectual property):

Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Adapters for use with computers, computer peripherals, consumer electronics, portable and handheld digital electronic devices, digital media players, handheld computers, tablet computers, mobile phones, electronic book readers, electronic personal organizer, personal digital assistant, electronic calendar, and global positioning system (GPS) devices. FIRST USE: 20080711. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20080711
Mark Drawing Code (2) DESIGN ONLY
Design Search Code 14.01.03 - Cables, electrical, With electric plugs ; Cords, electrical (with plugs) ; Electrical wire/cables, With plug ; Plugs, electrical
15.05.04 - Computer devices ; CPU (central processing unit) ; Mainframes (computer) ; PDAs (handheld computer) ; Printer (computer) ; Servers, computer ; Tape drives (computer)
15.09.25 - Battery chargers ; Controllers, electrical ; Electrical controllers ; Fuseboxes ; Fuses
Serial Number 86360793
Filing Date August 7, 2014
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition February 10, 2015
Registration Number 4726737
International Registration Number 1246707
Registration Date April 28, 2015
Owner (REGISTRANT) Apple Inc. CORPORATION CALIFORNIA One Apple Park Way Cupertino CALIFORNIA 95014
Attorney of Record Thomas R. La Perle
Description of Mark Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a three-dimensional configuration of an adapter in the shape of a cube having four sides with rounded corners, a flat front and flat back surface. The broken lines depicting a connector port and electrical prongs indicate placement of the mark on the goods and are not part of the mark.
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


BONUS MATERIALS:  Click here to learn more about Trade Dress for product design and packaging.

Strict Products Liability for selling defective products that cause injury

One of the major complaints about selling counterfeit products as that they can be "cheap" knockoffs and can be dangerous since they are not created by the real company.  For example, Dyson Hairdryers (you may have received a letter from Donahue Fitzgerald, LLP in the bay area of California) and the Apple adapters 5w are also considered to be dangerous and can cause fires for example.  As a retailer of a dangerous defective product, an injured party could try to hold you liable for personal injury damages that result from using the counterfeit product. 

In the news

1.  UL USB charger warning

2.  Fake iPhone charger blamed for death

3.  Counterfeit Dyson hairdryers

Contact IP & Counterfeit Counsel if you have received a letter alleging Trademark or Copyright infringement

We offer free initial consultations if you have received a letter dealing with selling counterfeit products, border and customs disputes, selling "knock-offs" or other cases involving Apple computers or other technology companies such as Dyson hairdryers. 

We can be reached at (877) 276-5084 or email us through our contact form.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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