Man fined €1k over selling fake Apple goods

A counterfeit Apple iPhone charger bought from a small shop in Cork exploded in the socket shortly after it was plugged in to charge the phone and yesterday the man who sold it was fined €1,000 for breaches of the Trade Marks Act.

Man fined €1k over selling fake Apple goods

Adranik Kazarian, aged 48, who runs the kiosk shop called The Phone Store at Paul St Shopping Centre in Cork pleaded not guilty to the two charges but was convicted after a trial that went on at length yesterday at Cork District Court.

Apple brought over one of its senior investigators specialising in intellectual property rights in the UK to testify that the charger in question and various other phone accessories were counterfeit.

Judge Olann Kelleher said the shopkeeper could not blame it on his suppliers and added: “He knew exactly what they were and that they had the trademarks of Apple. It is a very serious matter and courts cannot take it lightly. Fortunately, the damage caused by the charger was not any greater than it was.”

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Kazarian was fined €500 on each of two charges of exposing the goods that infringed Apple trademarks for sale in his shop.

The goods in question included seven phone chargers, 136 iPhone4 back plates, one front screen, and a second charge for the charger that exploded. Four Android phones that did not infringe Apple trademarks were contained in boxes that breached the copyright by displaying Apple logos.

The whole case came to light when customer David Wiseman called into the defendant’s shop and paid €15 for a charger for his iPhone on June 25. The defendant disputed the date, said his solicitor, Paul Derham.

Mr Wiseman said: “I bought it thinking it was a genuine phone charger. I plugged it in [in the bedroom where he was staying] and I was nearly asleep. There was a massive bang and a flash of blue light. The socket was dead and the back of the three-pin plug was blown off.

“I contacted Apple to say it was a safety concern, it nearly caused a fire in the house. Apple said the safety mark on the charger was different and that it was a counterfeit. I brought it back to the shop. The defendant said the phone was wet.

“He said he would repair the phone but he wanted back the charger. The phone was repaired, it worked for a day but not after that, and I lost all my numbers and photographs.”

Mr Wiseman said a new phone cost him €600, the electrician who repaired the socket and checked the wiring cost €130, and the charger itself cost €15. He made a complaint to gardaí.

Det Garda Padraig Harrington and Det Sgt Shane Bergin obtained a warrant and seized goods at the defendant’s small store and these items were produced in evidence.

Harriet Smith told Insp Ronan Kenneally the products were counterfeit as they were not made by Apple but contained Apple trademarks.

For instance, the back plates contained the Apple logo while items such as the chargers stated they were designed by Apple in California, something which legitimate Apple products stated.

Kazarian who said he had a radio engineering university degree from Armenia, told gardaí: “I don’t sell them as Apple products, I sell them as if they can be used to charge Apple products. I did not know I was selling counterfeit products.”

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