Saturday, April 14, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Sued an Independent iPhone Repair Shop Owner and Lost

Jason Koebler (Hacker News):

The specifics of Huseby’s legal case apply only in Norway, of course, but his case speaks to a problem faced by independent iPhone repair shops around the world. Apple’s use of the legal system and trademark law turns average repair professionals into criminals and helps the company corner the repair market for Apple products.

In the United States, Apple has worked with the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to seize counterfeit parts in the United States and to raid the shops of independent iPhone repair professionals. ICE’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center rejected a Freedom of Information Act request I filed in 2016 regarding Apple’s involvement in its “Operation Chain Reaction” anti counterfeiting team, citing that doing so “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

“In this case, Apple indirectly proves what they really want,” Par Harald Gjerstad, Huseby’s lawyer, told me in an email. “They want monopoly on repairs so they can keep high prices. And they therefore do not want to sell spare parts to anyone other than ‘to themselves.’”

[…]

The legal status of many of these parts remains an unanswered question around the world, but the general consensus seems to be that a part is “counterfeit” if it is masquerading as an original manufacturer part rather than an aftermarket one. Counterfeit parts are “tangible goods that infringe trademarks,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a partnership between 35 countries and a United Nations observer, wrote in a report last year.

Previously: Apple Fighting New “Right to Repair” Legislation, Error 53.

7 Comments

Yeah....there's a narrative that Apple usually does the right thing, I've read if for years. Shoot, I used to espouse such drivel myself. Apple will do the right thing when it is beneficial to their bottom line. Just as pretty much all publicly traded companies will operate....

They have been hostile to repairs for years. They sent out notices to repair sites hosting "their intellectual property" years back....and by intellectual property, they mean repair manuals for their hardware. Again this was years ago. Nothing new to see here.

Just stop buying Apple stuff. Problem solved. :)

Seriously, a whole host of these companies are actively consumer hostile when it comes to right to repair. Not just Apple clearly, John Deere, Sony, etc.... As such, I will continue to lesson my reliance on any single company. Freedom to migrate has become my main criteria for adopting anything. If a company proves too burdensome to my life, it's gone. Which is as it should be, but sometimes habits are really hard to break. I am not bitter or anything....no, I really wanted to migrate away from my main computing system for a 20 year period....

The sad thing is, it is all so obviously about the money. The linked piece was spot on. Congratulations to the defendant for winning the case.

No reputable computer repair should would use "Counterfeit" parts as defined in the post. If someone were distributing shoddy knockoffs in your name, you'd want them shut down too.

It's frustrating that Apple continues to shutdown all avenues for reasonably priced self-repair.

A few weeks ago I was at our local cardboard recycling station and saw a MacBook Pro box sitting outside the hopper. I went to throw it in, and noticed it had some weight to it. So I took it to my car, opened it up and found a relatively well maintained MBP.

Taking it home and running diagnostics, it became clear that all was wrong with it was a bad hard drive. Luckily it was one of the last models you could open up and repair yourself, so I swapped in an SSD and installed the OS again. A well running MBP in good condition! I gave it to someone who always wanted a Mac but was never able to afford one. This will be their first Mac, and if they enjoy it and can find the money in future, it won't be their last.

This is what we're losing, if not already lost. Apple can boast about using 100% renewables, but their policies otherwise encourage disposability. I'm sure the person who originally had this laptop loved it dearly, but a component died, it was out of warranty, and they had no idea they could fix it, or at least fix it cheaply enough to mitigate buying a new one.

Jeff,
Coming from a company that argued in legal briefings that rooting your phone would bring down the national cell systems....sorry, this is all a bit rich.

Also, for you to completely miss the part that the defendant was sued for using third party aftermarket parts....Why do you assume the parts are counterfeit? I don't understand if modern tech enthusiasts are blinded by brand loyalty or really don't understand how repairs are supposed to work. I just swapped out the wipers on my car, Toyota didn't then sue the shop where I bought the replacement wipers, nor did they come after me....

This is a crazy point to white knight....you are signing over your entire tech life to one entity, an entity that routinely gouges their customers on repairs. I've seen the repair bill costs from Apple stores. Hard to disassemble iMacs that Apple charged $300+ to replace a hard drive....yeah, that's like $60-$100....plus 30 minutes of labor. Ha, found an older thread to illustrate, http://forums.macresource.com/read.php?1,1153114,1153151#msg-1153151

I don't trust Apple's motives. They have been very hostile to anything they don't fully control. First sale doctrine should mean something. Right to repair should mean something.

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