Apple sued a high school student in New York, who sold unauthorized white iPhone conversion kits online in 2010.
A report was released on Thursday that Apple filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, for the Eastern District of New York , for infringing and diluting Apple's famous trademarks through the sale of the student's conversion kits, including parts obtained from Apple's overseas manufacturing partners.
The defendant is Fei Lam, a 17-year-old high school student in Queens, New York.
He allegedly acquired a connection in China to import iPhone parts, started his own business and earned $130,000 in revenue as of November 2010.
Prior to December 1, 2010, when Apple issued a cease-and-desist letter, Lam's online service served a niche market awaiting the long-delayed white iPhone 4 to be released. Once Apple made a move, Lam had a private investigator after him.
Apple claims that the Defendant at all times knew that Apple has never authorized the sale of white panels for its iPhone 4 mobile devices, and that he obtained these parts from sources that were not authorized by Apple or any of its suppliers to sell them.
Lam allegedly contacted Alan Yang of Shenzhen, who operates Focusupply. Apple claims to have obtained an instant message conversation between Yang and Lam, where Yang said his company had a friend at the manufacturing company Foxconn.
Fei Lam first heard about the news of his lawsuit through an email from the media. He said that his parents were a bit upset. Regarding the online business, I did not make $130,000, not that much, Lam said.
Lam and his parents will be meeting Apple's lawyers in Apple's New York office within the next month. Lam is not planning to bring a lawyer to the meeting.
Apple filed a dismissal simultaneous to the lawsuit. It is speculated that Apple and the Lams may have reached a settlement out of court. If Apple chooses to re-file the claim, it has the right to do so.
In an interview with Fast Company, Lam said, I believe I was the only one that got [Apple's] attention. After I closed down my site, other sites still sold the white repair parts. I guess if I look at it from Apple's perspective, they don't want the confusion that the white iPhone was released when it's not.