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Counterfeit Apple resellers disappear after Apple issues ‘ultimatum’

Private shops stopped using Apple’s logo after the smartphone manufacturer’s representative in Vietnam sent a letter to them warning about intellectual property infringement two years ago.

The shop uses the logo of full apple fruit
The shop uses the logo of full apple fruit

In early 2017, Vo Tran Company, the legal representative of Apple in Vietnam, sent a document to domestic retailers asking them to stop using Apple’s brands and logos if they were unlicensed.

The use of the brands and logos might lead to misunderstanding that the shops were authorized by Apple. As this was intellectual property copyright infringement, Apple would take legal proceedings against the behavior.

The number of private shops using Apple’s brands and logos has decreased significantly in the last two years. Most of the shops have replaced their old signboards with new ones, with no Apple logos.

“Large shops all have stopped using the logo because they want to avoid legal problems. However, small shops are still using the logo,” said Tran Quoc Trung from Hnammobile.
On Le Hong Phong street in district 10 and Tran Quang Khai street in district 1, where many private shops sell iPhones imported through unofficial channels, there are still some shops using Apple’s logo on their signboards.

On Le Hong Phong street, 4 out of 50 shops are still committing copyright infringement, while on Tran Quang Khai street, some shops use the logo of full apple fruit, not a half eaten one.

“I know I am at fault when using Apple’s brand and logo. However, the signboard was made two years ago, when the use was not prohibited by the State,” said Anh Dung, the owner of a shop in district 10.

“To date, I haven’t received any documents which says the use of Apple’s brands is prohibited,” he said.

Dung went on to say that the Apple’s logo on the signboard does not affect his business and he can remove the logo at any time.

“Customers understand what I sell and the product quality. They won’t go to our shop if they want to buy officially distributed iPhone products,” he said.

Some other retailers confirmed that they received the document from Vo Tran Company and replaced their signboards, but they are still using some Apple’s brands.

The same thing can be seen in Hanoi. Only a few shops on ‘smartphone streets’ such as Thai Ha and Cau Giay are still using Apple’s logos. Only 2 out of 30 shops on Thai Ha street were seen still using Apple’s logos.

Apple still has not set up an official Apple Store in Vietnam, but genuine products are still available through large distributors including The Gioi Di Dong and FPT Shop.