Apple’s fight against counterfeit devices isn’t an easy battle, according to new documents released by WikiLeaks. CNN reported early Tuesday morning that Apple moved to crack down against fakes in 2008, but that progress has since been slow.
The leaked documents, which weren’t classified but were marked as “sensitive” and “not for Internet distribution,” reveal that Apple had assembled a team in 2008 under former Pfizer security chief and FBI agent John Theriault, Apple’s current head of global security, to work against the sale of counterfeit devices. Fake Apple goods are rampant in China, where the brand is in high demand and legal measures preventing knockoffs aren’t in place or enforced.
Apple’s security team planned measures to slow or stop the gadget piracy, including raids on street vendors, manufacturing facilities and online distributors. According to the leak, China wasn’t very cooperative, since raids would threaten local jobs at the facilities being investigated, and counterfeit electronics aren’t really a health and safety issue at the same level as fake pharmaceuticals, an area where China has been cooperative with corporations like Pfizer.
Lately Apple appears to be making headway, at least with fake Apple stores using Apple’s trademarks without permission. Twenty-two such stores were closed down in Kunming in mid-August. But whether or not any progress is being made to stem counterfeit goods at their source is another story. Apple clearly will continue to attempt to curtail that illegal business, since its legitimate sales in the lucrative Chinese market are growing by leaps and bounds.