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Apple sues three MagSafe adapter clone sellers

updated 05:25 pm EDT, Fri July 9, 2010

Apple targets three for copying MagSafe design

Apple on Thursday sued three US resellers for allegedly infringing on the patents behind the MagSafe power adapters for the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The Northern District of California complaint accuses Brilliant Store, Hootoo and Sunvalleytek International of selling copies such as the "AC Adapter MagSafe" without permission. The companies involved in some cases have made it clear both that they sell the actual power bricks as well as the duplicates.

The lawsuit isn't unique for Apple and stems from the proprietary design of the MagSafe connector, a patent for which was granted in August 2003. Most Windows notebook builders use largely standard power connectors and often don't have patents. Critics of Apple have contended that the power connector patent lets it keep pricing high, although reliability and support are possible factors.

The resellers in the new lawsuit have been contacted but haven't responded publicly to the accusations. [via CNET]



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. que_ball

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000

    +1

    Knock off

    The linked site is definitely selling an obvious knock off.

    I wonder if they are getting the connector parts from the supplier who manufactures official ones for Apple or not? I know it's pretty common practice for some of those factories to make more product than was ordered by the OEM and then sell the excess through shady distributors for a little on the side profit.

    I have seen more legitimate companies selling extended batteries with magsafe tips that have been recycled from dead legitimate apple power adapters.

    If you have any broken power adapters I wouldn't be surprised if there is a small market for selling the connector cables to niche market equipment dealers who can recycle them.


    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    -23

    The Patent system is out of hand!



    OUT OF HAND I TELL YOU!

    Who would apply for a stupid patent like this in the first place and who would grant a patent like this based on an obvious idea anyways?? The USTPO are handing patents out like dinner mints.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000

    -18

    What about the consumer?

    Apple - now fully engaging in aggressive corporate strong-arm grandstanding as a day-to-day way of doing business.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002

    +9

    oh wrenchy

    obvious idea? well, dear lad, if it was so obvious why didn't someone else develop it?
    that simpleton thing we talked about? you're doing it again.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2002

    +4

    New design sucks

    I hate the new design. You can only put it in one way or you block several ports rendering them unusable. I don't see how this redesign is an improvement.

  1. cljmac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2005

    +1

    Horrible quality....

    my customer was given one of these fake plugs through an extended warranty through a apple reseller. It was for his 17in macbook pro. It did look alot like the Apple power plug, but it was very cheaply built.
    In the first week the wind up tabs fell off and in a month the plastic white cover came apart, exposing the guts. he did complain alot and the finally gave him an apple replacement.
    A real quality issue with these "replacement parts"

  1. dshan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002

    +2

    Why Don't Apple License Them?

    Clearly these guys are breaking the law, however I've never understood why Apple refuse to license 3rd party power cords/supplies with the MagSafe plug. There's lots of niche applications (solar power, car chargers, etc.) where 3rd party manufacturers could add value to Apple's regular power supplies and adapters. And Apple would make good money from licensing the technology. Yet they flatly refuse to license MagSafe, it's just stupid.

    We MacBook users suffer because we can't use any of the niche power supplies, converters and so forth that are available to many other laptop users.

  1. _Rick_V_

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003

    +1

    Standard adaptors on Win Notebooks?

    I don't think so!

    Show me ONE "standard" plug on any Windows laptop that works on another manufacturers laptop. Heck, with Dell, the adapter sometimes changes from model to model.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: Horrible quality....


    my customer was given one of these fake plugs through an extended warranty through a apple reseller. It was for his 17in macbook pro.


    That's OK. You see the comments for these things on Apple's own website? Apple can't seem to get the adapter down correctly, either.

    And your customer should have called Apple and told them about their 'reseller'. That sounds like a reseller who shouldn't be one anymore.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Why Don't Apple License Them?


    Clearly these guys are breaking the law, however I've never understood why Apple refuse to license 3rd party power cords/supplies with the MagSafe plug.


    Easy. It does not benefit Apple to do so.

    When Apple wants to win a market segment or break a competitor or gain PR points, they start talking up interoperability and open standards (see HTML 5 vs. Flash, the famous 'no DRM' letter from Jobs, DisplayPort, even BluRay).

    However, when Apple doesn't give a c*** or has the market sown up, it's all proprietary and secret and licensing only (if allowed). As in MagSafe, FairPlay DRM, iPhone apps, the Dock connector, etc.

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