Dispute over iPhone spare parts: Free repair shop is subject to Apple

Apple was apparently able to legally prevail over a free iPhone workshop in Norway in a multi-year dispute over imported iPhone screens. The country’s Supreme Court has now ruled in favor of the manufacturer, European repair activists announced on Wednesday. Further details from the judgment are still pending.

Apple had accused the shop operator Henrik Huseby of a trademark infringement because overpainted Apple logos have been applied to the imported screens – they are fakes. The 60 iPhone screens sourced from China had already been confiscated by Norwegian customs upon import. Apple initially asked for a cease-and-desist declaration and the obligation to stop purchasing such products, the retailer declined.

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In the first instance, Apple lost: The logo on the screens was hidden and the service provider had no interest in exposing it, the verdict was. Apple then won the appeal, and the dealer then went to the Norwegian Supreme Court. Huseby argued in advance that he hadn’t done anything wrong Technology Review, after all, he does not get access to original spare parts from the manufacturer.

Defective iPhone screen parts are partly reused and combined with spare parts from third-party providers. “Finally, the Chinese retailer blackens out all Apple logos, for example on the tiny connecting cables between the screen and the motherboard, before shipping. So the Apple brand is not used,” said Huseby. Apple uses trademark law as a weapon to force small shops out of business and control repair prices. No statement has been received from Apple.

Independent repair service providers are closely following the case: Up until now, they have had to use iPhone components from third-party sources, since the iPhone manufacturer only uses original spare parts and issues them to authorized trading partners. Only such workshops could guarantee a proper repair, Apple emphasizes. Last summer, however, Apple announced that it would deliver original iPhone spare parts to independent retailers for the first time – under strict rules. The “Independent Repair Provider Program” has so far only been offered in the USA.


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