Apple Demands Suppliers to Halt Sales of Unauthorized Chargers
Word has spread quickly this week about Apple’s claim that some promotional product suppliers have violated the company's intellectual property by selling unauthorized chargers containing its 8-pin (aka Lightning) and/or 30-pin connectors.
As distributors, like AIA Corporation, Neenah, Wis., learn about the controversy, they have been ceasing sales of the affected products.
"AIA has become aware of efforts by Apple Inc., to protect its intellectual property rights in certain products, namely an 8-pin and 30-pin connection system," Tom Lehr, AIA's chief financial officer said in an e-mail to its members yesterday. "Apple’s actions have come in the form of a letter sent to suppliers, requesting, amongst other things, that the supplier stop offering for sale the infringing products, [reveal] the identity and locations of manufacturers of the infringing products, and [provide] details of the supplier’s sales of all infringing products."
Lehr went on to note that AIA did not receive the cease-and-desist letter directly, nor has a supplier or manufacturer contacted the company regarding the letter. While The Image Group did not receive the letter either, suppliers in its preferred network have emailed the company about discontinued products as a result of the letter's requests, Bruce Felber, director of marketing and sales support for The Image Group, Holland, Ohio, said.
"From time to time, The Image Group learns of potential infringement concerns related to items available through the promotional products industry," Felber said. "Whenever news of possible industry-wide infringement issues reaches us, The Image Group immediately discontinues selling all affected items to our customers."
Mike Emhoff, CEO of Shumsky, Dayton, Ohio, reached out to his PeerNet supplier partners to learn which items, if any, were affected from each supplier.
"When we first learned about the unauthorized Apple accessories this week, we immediately went through our system to make sure we did not have any open orders or were featuring any of these types of items on any of our sites," said Amy Sheldon, Shumsky's head of strategic partnership and global compliance. "We also notified our sales team and staff not to quote these items unless they had documentation that the item was MFi-certified.”