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Apple sues kid who sold white iPhone 4 conversion kits, seeks return of profits

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple sues kid who sold white iPhone 4 conversion kits, seeks return of profits
This past November, before Apple was able to rollout the white Apple iPhone 4, a 17 year old named Fei Lam had a entrepreneurial flash. Through a middle man, he was able to obtain from Foxconn, the front and back casing for the white iPhone 4 as well as the white power button. Lam sold all three pieces for $279. Individually, the front plate cost $169 and the back plate was priced at $135. The 17 year old set up a web site at whiteiPhone4now.com, which has been since taken down.

Apple is requesting that the court order Lam to never again sell these "stolen parts" and wants the Lam family to reimburse the Cupertino based firm for money spent on the case as well as turn over to Apple all of the profits made from selling the kits. In addition, Apple seeks "additional financial penalties" from Lam. The teenager had received the parts from a business owner from Shenzhen, China, Alan Yang, who had received them from Foxconn.

It should be noted that Apple has simultaneously filed a dismissal of the lawsuit against Lam, which removes the charges against the youngster. This might indicate that the company has reached a settlement of the case with the family. In the suit, Apple claims that the defendant knew that Apple had not authorized the sale of white iPhone 4 panels and that he had obtained them from sources that were not authorized by Apple or its suppliers, to sell them. Of course, if you want a white Apple iPhone 4, it is now available from Apple or authorized retailers.

source: RedmondPie

The 17 year old behind this now defunct web site, was sued by Apple

The 17 year old behind this now defunct web site, was sued by Apple



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posted on 27 May 2011, 12:35 7

1. skymitch89 (Posts: 1053; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


That's just BS! Apple should be going after they company(ies) that sold the teen the conversions kits. I also think that Apple should put out a bulletin that if there is anyone who has he conversion kits on their phone, then their warranty is void and so is any kind of insurance that they might have.

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:05 4

12. jogutier (Posts: 324; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


Apple gets mad when someone steals their thunder. LOL! That's what they get for always having money on their mind. haha

update: I know this was a copyright infraction, but the kid stills get a high 5 from me.

posted on 27 May 2011, 17:51 6

36. Lucas777 (Posts: 2131; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


i believe a foxconn worker took them and sold them to him.. but really, what did he expect when he stole apples copyright... and apple is being prety gracious about it-- they dropped the charges and said as long as he didnt do it anymore, they wud not pursue it... and for anyone who says apple shudnt do anything, that is so stupid... if they do nothing everyone will do this and it will be uncontrollable...

posted on 31 May 2011, 12:02

73. greggg (unregistered)


Everything I have is from apple but come on, you look stupid defending them considering they were actually going to go through with it. And they can't really sue considering once you buy your iphone, its yours to do whatever with.

posted on 28 May 2011, 14:46 4

63. G-reg (unregistered)


Apple attacks the little guy to keep other little guys from trying stuff.

posted on 27 May 2011, 12:45 8

2. Hallucinator (Posts: 344; Member since: 24 May 2010)


The parts also contained the apple logo. That is where the kid screwed up. Apple has every right to do this.

posted on 28 May 2011, 09:30 2

56. Chakra (Posts: 118; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


The world if full of fake branded stuff, even Apple. You don't see them going to the "electronic" stores in New York, and suing them... LOL

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:01 10

3. StephenPeeGobs (unregistered)


Sueing a minor? Really? Bad move Apple. That's probably why they removed the suit. Ooops. They make so much money anway. Give the kid a break. he was inventive! Go go go. Down with A$$le. all you isheep will make up for all the revenue this kid makes. He probably owns an superior andriod phone anyway.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:07 8

4. Hallucinator (Posts: 344; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Yes because minors should be allowed to do what ever they want. Grow the f up. If you break the law, regardless of your age you have to be held accountable.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:10 9

6. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


How the hell is it a bad movie? He sold stolen parts for th iPhone 4 plus he broke numerous copyright laws. They have every right to sue especially since he had Apple's logo on them.

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:55 5

17. Deck (unregistered)


I don't see anywhere in this story that Lam "stole" these parts. It says he obtained them from a middle man. The question is how did Alan Yang get them from or out of Foxconn in the first place. Why is it this kids fault that Foxconn let the product out the door? Maybe instead of suing everyone under the sun they Apple should invent some cash in better security at their factories.

posted on 27 May 2011, 16:37 1

30. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


aka he "stole" them

posted on 27 May 2011, 16:43 5

31. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


He bought them from someone who got them from foxconn either through a secret channel, a misplaced delivery, or theft.

While he did take good advantage of an opportunity, he did also violate private property laws and copywrite laws and is subject to punishment for it.

I hate apple, but everyone should still play fair.

posted on 27 May 2011, 22:57 1

47. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


if the company stole them, then he is also in the wrong as well since receiving stolen property is a crime

posted on 27 May 2011, 20:28 4

41. cheetah2k (Posts: 803; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


Were the parts really stolen? or were they merely thrown away when Apple realised there was a problem with the glass pigmentation??

If Apple are going to penalise a Minor for selling these parts because of them bearing the Apple logo, then Apple should follow through and sue every single manufacturer out there that is also using the logo - eg, all the hard cases out there with the cut-out logo, etc...

posted on 27 May 2011, 16:57 1

32. DUH (unregistered)


Apple has the right to sue, I am interested in whether Apple will sue the company and or the individual who "obtained" the goods in question. That's where they should focus there time. Use smart tactics, start with the kid work they way up and nip it in the bud, instead they are gonna waste court time and tax payer money to make an example out of a minor in order to deter future individuals from doing such business but what will stop the people who have access from doing what Alan Yang did? My guess nothing cause that company and others like it are business partners and they wont burn a bridge like that over integrity.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:09 4

5. ap (unregistered)


well i don't know if what he did is right or wrong but he is probably a minor who wanted to make some cash (who doesn't??) and it took him what, like a month to figure out a way to make iPhones white, something that took apple approx. a year to create....so "bravo" on the lawsuit!

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:13 1

7. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


Really? Suing a 17 year old? What's with all these companies suing these young people? Sony vs Geohot and not Apple vs this guy?

There should be a law that prevents these huge companies from suing people who are of a certain age.

posted on 28 May 2011, 09:31 1

57. Chakra (Posts: 118; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


Apple is just playing a bully. Isn't the current PC-ness America cause against bullying nowadays.

posted on 29 May 2011, 13:35

69. PW (unregistered)


So what you're saying is you want a double standard? We charge minors all the time for murder in the US. Let's chnge the standard and let a minor murder someone in your family and all the get is a little slap on the write. All of you are who pissed at Apple for filing suit are ridiculous. Even if the profit the kid generated with minute to the profit margins of Apple it is profit none the less gained by using stolen parts that Apple had to pay Foxconn to produce. So not only is Apple losing profit on the retro kit they are losing the money they had to invest to produce the panels this kid sold. No one is above the law well except the US Congress who pass laws exempting themselves from the laws average Joe has to follow but that is another story.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:16 5

8. Whateverman (Posts: 3191; Member since: 17 May 2009)


The kid is a minor. Scare him alittle then leave him alone. There is no point in going full steam ahead with the lawsuit. I don't blame Apple for wanting to send a message, don't go hard on the kid.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:59 4

10. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I think that's what they did because they also dismissed the suit immediately

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:49 3

15. Whateverman (Posts: 3191; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Yeah, that I must say that was cool of them, but make him donate the money to charity or something. Apple spends more on riley paper than what this kid made. They should say give to a food bank, orphange, homeless shelter or else prepare for court. This way he learn two lessons; stealing is bad because you'll get put in jail and/or get your balls sued off, and he'll learn to give til' it hurts.

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:58 2

28. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)


If I was the kid and they made me donate it I would give Steve Jobs a big FU and donate it to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

posted on 27 May 2011, 20:16

40. Whateverman (Posts: 3191; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Lol! Good one.

posted on 27 May 2011, 13:37 4

9. xenover (Posts: 172; Member since: 27 May 2011)


So basically Apple went apeshit for nothing.. again.
Yeah, yeah, thumb me down if you like.
Fanboys..

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:04 2

11. r2212xx (Posts: 41; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


There isn't anything wrong with what Apple has done. It is their right. But i feel they should have kept the details of the boy like name and location confidential since he is a minor. At least they should have made an effort from their side. It's not going to hurt the reputation of Apple if they let out the details of the boy but it would definitely hit the boy hard. Remember often it's these kind of teens who have bitter experiences with such corporates turn into full time hackers and phishers and create havoc not only for the company but also for its consumers.

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:21

13. Sniggly (Posts: 6919; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


*rolls eyes* even though they have a legal case, it's despicable of Apple to do this. They have more money than they could ever spend, and they're stomping hard on this kid.

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:11 1

18. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Anything that Apple does is despicable for you anyway, so let me roll my eyes back at you :)

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:32 1

22. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


they have to send a message. Did you read they immidiately dismissed the case so it was more to send a message. They didn't actually seek damages.

posted on 27 May 2011, 16:17 1

29. Sniggly (Posts: 6919; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Oh come on, as if they lost any major profits off of the kid's little entrepreneurial adventure. What's the message? "Don't ever fuck with Apple's profits, no matter how miniscule the effect!"

posted on 27 May 2011, 17:07 3

33. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


So you just want to tolerate a kid in violating the law? See how your hate affects your morality? I bet if a minor throws a grenade in one of the Apple stores, you'd be like, "Let the kid have a little fun. It's just one Apple Store that he blew up. It won't affect Apple a bit".

posted on 27 May 2011, 22:23

46. Sniggly (Posts: 6919; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


No, you dumb shit. Procuring stolen property in order to satisfy a perceived demand is not comparable to fucking murder. It's not quite right what the kid did, but I'm a fan of alternative solutions to jail and lawsuits. How about hiring the kid? He's obviously bright. But no, Apple wants all the profit for themselves.

posted on 28 May 2011, 09:36

58. Chakra (Posts: 118; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


I'm curious to what law did he specifically violate? Is there a law that was created for Apple protection? The internet has tons of companies that sell OEM parts, however, if it's not a authorized dealer, it void the warranty, and that's the risk the consumer takes.

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:48 1

14. bubba78 (Posts: 54; Member since: 23 May 2011)


Is there anyone Apple isn't suing right now???

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:12 2

19. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Apple hasn't sued me. Did they sue you? I don't think Apple is suing everyone. Just those who violates the law :)

posted on 27 May 2011, 14:54

16. mihno (unregistered)


assuming the kid didnt know the parts were stolen he is not liable for anything. lets hope he got a lawyer and keeps all the money he made. way to go kid. apple sucks

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:18 1

20. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Read the rest of the article. Apple dismissed the case. The kid does not need a lawyer. It was settled. And wow, let's just assume that the kid is innocent about stolen parts, but he's smart enough to make good money. Nice one :)

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:54

27. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)


Either way he's lost all the money he made. This is a win win for apple. They either get paid or they don't but he's spent all the money he made in legal fees.

posted on 27 May 2011, 17:09

34. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


No one knows whether Apple actually took the kid's money, though I doubt if they did. But they surely taught the kid a lesson.

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:30 1

21. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


wow. you people that hate on apple .. go buy the newset android clone that must be out by now if not tomorrow another one will come out.... yes he is a minor. but is a crimminal. people do crimes thinking that because is a minor could do whatever they want.... he knew what he was doing... if not..well he knows now.. bet u he wont do it again...

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:42 1

23. vivek.ray (Posts: 22; Member since: 08 Apr 2011)


well , days will come when apple will sue 3 year old kid for biting apple w.r.t its logo and set out all details of that kid .
This is very sad way opted by apple , they should've kept at least details away even if they consider this law suit as another trophy .

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:43 1

26. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


i hope you know how ignorant you just sound with that....

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:43 2

24. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


Only apple is allowed to play dirty and earn their chunk of cash. Anyone else that is earning their chunk has a pending lawsuit with apple. I swear apple slow the fuck down, he's 17 he had a GREAT idea, and it's not like China is a super strict country. It should be apple's fault for being so fucking butt hurt by this.

posted on 27 May 2011, 15:43 1

25. Mr anonymous since job nailed (unregistered)


Why are they sueing the kid? He no doubt bought th parts from the "middle man" who would doubtless want a cut. If anybody should be sued its that "middle man". He is the one who obtained (likely illegally) the white parts from Foxconn. They also need to as someone else suggested, "do the tighten-up" on their security protocols.

posted on 27 May 2011, 17:25 1

35. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 46; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


WOW...

posted on 27 May 2011, 19:05 1

37. andro (unregistered)


'Apple sues kid' when will they stop their madness?!!

posted on 27 May 2011, 19:36 1

38. Gsmalltheway (Posts: 147; Member since: 15 Aug 2009)


This is freakin rediculous!!!!! Once you a buy a phone it is yours...you should be able to do whatever the heck you want with it.

posted on 27 May 2011, 19:41 1

39. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6363; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


This is also why I HATE APPLE.N what kind of money they will get from this kid? He's not using their material to make white iphones. plus he's does not even make that much money, in the millions i mean. APPLE IS NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF GREEDY BASTARD company. They think they can sue anyone they want.

posted on 27 May 2011, 21:20 1

42. merc (unregistered)


Unless he had the cases printed himself he is not in violation of copyright law. And unless it can be proven that the cases were stolen the lawsuit was frivilous. Apples recourse is to go after the company they came from for violation of their contract. Case was likely filed to scare the kid. Dismissed because the judge would have anyway.

posted on 28 May 2011, 12:29

62. Nine1Sickness (Posts: 46; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


Unless that kid has the kind of lawyers that Apple does, he doesn't stand a chance.

posted on 27 May 2011, 22:04 1

45. asianface (Posts: 12; Member since: 27 May 2011)


Apple is a sore loser... Suing a 17 year old kid? wow... Way to go, Apple

posted on 27 May 2011, 23:02 1

48. COCOAAND (unregistered)


Now, i'm not a fan of apple, but what the kid did was wrong and he should get a punishment. Suing the kid and giving out the kids details is kinda pushing it. He should just get a small fee and forced to donate the money that he made.

posted on 28 May 2011, 01:12 1

49. Dojob (unregistered)


It's the Apple culture, like to sue people. May be next time all the people in the world will sue them not until they bankcrupt but they can't pay the sue for almost 9 to 10 generations ha ha ha... android live..

posted on 28 May 2011, 09:28 2

55. Chakra (Posts: 118; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


I really don't see what this is particularly illegal. Apple should have just said, if you illegally put this on your phone, the warranty is void. Why go after the kid? Did he sign a no-compete agreement with apple? Does that mean, if my buddy with a white iphone, is broken, I cannot take his white case? What if I want to put an i7 Extreme next year into today's iMac, does apple have the right to sue me, and say Newegg, because Apple was thinking of making an IMac with the same chip?

The underlying truth is, Apple had the means and opportunity to market and sell the iPhone, but they want to be greedy and create demand by sending out the "ooh, the new cool white iphone". Now y'all can say, "well apply, didn't want to enter the market, because they didn't have supply." - Well guess what, they, didn't they "sell out" whenever they introduce a new iphone anyways. Trust me, I've seen the distribution centers for AT&T, and I've literally seen 10s of thousands of iphones on pallets, when Apple, and AT&T said there is none.

posted on 29 May 2011, 21:37

72. dr_zorg (unregistered)


The funny part is there's all these fanboys that go apeshit when someone even looks at their beloved company. I laugh at them defending this huge corporation that doesn't give a flying f.u.c.k about these human ants that they screw over and over and over again. And the ants seem to love it.

Props to the kid for using his brains.

To all the iTards: China isn't the U.S. Unless the kid stole something, he didn't break any laws. Case closed.

posted on 28 May 2011, 21:05

65. me (unregistered)


bullshit! Won't it be nice if we can purchase the kit and just change the back? I prefer iphone with front black and back white, just like the 3GS!

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