NewsBot Follow-up: Five Fake Apple Stores in Kunming, China. Wow.

Last week we reported the story of an American blogger in Kunming, China who discovered and nicely documented a fake Apple store in that city. Well, she didn’t find one, but three, or so we reported. But it turns out there are, or were, actually FIVE fake Apple stores happily selling iPods, iPads and Macbook Air computers, and other Apple gadgets. After the news broke here and in other media sources of the American blogger’s discovery, Chinese officials almost immediately descended on Kunming to confirm the existence of the fake Apple outlets and determine what to do about them. Well, it seems that Chinese laws regarding the legal concept of “trade dress” (the visual appearance of a product or the retail environment in which it is sold) are a bit different than they are in the EU or the U.S. Because despite the fact that all of the stores were faked to look almost exactly like a legitimate Apple store, three of them have been allowed to continue operation because they were found to be selling completely authentic Apple merchandise. The other two stores have had operations suspended while Chinese trade and law-enforcement officials investigate the authenticity of the Apple-branded merchandise offered for sale. We don’t know how Apple and Steve Jobs are reacting to this ongoing retail fiasco, but much of the news coverage we have reviewed is monitoring this story with healthy doses of both disbelief and bemusement. This surely does not mean that what these fake Chinese Apple shops are doing is right. It isn’t. But the situation is kind of funny when you think about it, and the story might make an entertaining documentary at the very least. (Asian Correspondent – Five Fake Kunming Apple Stores) Additional details about the two suspended stores can be read here.