Apple sues clone power adapter manufacturer

By Justin Mann on November 27, 2009, 4:22 PM
Apple is taking another company to court, once again over knock-off hardware. Media Solutions Holdings will face Cupertino in court over making power adapters for laptops, at least one model of which allegedly violates an Apple patent.

The company being sued peddles more than just Apple knock-offs, they sell adapters for numerous brand-name laptops, including HP, Acer, Sony, Toshiba and Lenovo. It's a quite common business, as most brand-name power adapters can be expensive.

Apple is often synonymous with pricey, which makes them a common target for manufacturers of clone hardware like Psystar, but the term "counterfeit" better describes this case. It seems that Media Solutions Holdings was attempting to pass its adapters off as genuine Apple hardware.

It is not mentioned if other laptop manufacturers are taking any interest in the case. Apple is aiming for the company to cease manufacturing the adapter in question, which currently doesn't seem to be listed on the numerous sites they operate. Monetary compensation wasn't mentioned, but is possible.

User Comments: 40

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Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hope Apple gets burned from this.

The product isn't even listed, good luck to Cupertino.

Boogityboo04 Boogityboo04 said:

If they are actually counterfeit, more power to apple, but if the company is simply selling a cheap alternative to apple's overpriced hardware I really hope it gets shot down in court.

Fada said:

if there IP is being pirated then go for it, if they just want a cheaper version off the market than i hop they lose as boogityboo said, Apple are poping up in court a lot more than usual latley!

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

hmm this seems legit if they are counterfeit products otherwise i hope apple get burned.

yorro said:

Clone adapters could be dangerous considering how cheap they are.

Fada said:

yorro said:

Clone adapters could be dangerous considering how cheap they are.

You really dont know how much it costs to make this stuff, apple probably get it made cheaper than the clone manufacturer but up the price cause they can!

stwongbad85 said:

I do not approve of scamming people into thinking they are buying a genuine apple product, but otherwise, apple needs to give it a rest with the lawsuits. they are on a slippery slope to becoming TOTAL D-bags.


on the power adapter note, it is long past overdue that we adopt an industry standard recharging adapter solution. The majority of devices use that mini usb jack, but maybe something sturdier and magnetic that everyone could agree on.

matchu said:

agrees with @stwongbad85. A standard would be very helpful. My friend had ot replace his power adapter... had to buy one from Dell directly. Goodness, so expensive.

harby said:

Apple is becoming boring. Seriously, I'm sure they have like 1000 lawyers sitting all day and searching the Internet for stuff like this so they have someone to sue.

timljh said:

hopefully it is not another lawsuit by apple to try to monopolize the market? just like the phystar, i don't see anything wrong with selling an alternative but passing it off as a genuine product is kind of overboard.

lfg18 said:

I hope apple lose, their products are really overpriced as to complain for some company trying to offers cheaper alternatives, the standart plug would be a very good idea

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And in other news, Apple is suing Sennheiser, Sony and Bose for making cheaper and better earphones... I seriously wonder who in the right mind would buy all the overpriced Apple accessories - they're definitely priced for the fanboy segment of the market.

Razerblade said:

I can understand why Apple is sueing if they have got a patent on their charger. However, the cost for their hardware is ridiculous so i welcome any cheaper alternatives!

Puiu Puiu said:

People are starting to get fed up with apple. There used to be so many apple fans posting about how good a mac is and now i barely see anyone (if any) saying something good about them.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I agree with some people in here talking about standarizing the notebook/netbook chargers, would be amazing. Many companies could benefit from this, for as cheapo' as they are to make I don't really know the number, imagine some good quality costs to build around 10 bucks, if they don't have to sell the notebook with the charger they can actually transmit some discount to the buyers, and then spend 15-20 bucks (Imagining you don't have one) to buy a generic one out there.

Pretty much like something most of us read a while ago, about cellphone chargers going to come with universal chargers.

buttus said:

Apple has a program for third party manufacturers called "Made for iPod". Anything with this label has been tested and authorized by Apple to work with Apple products. I agree with them suing this third party as (having been in retail) I know how many non-authorized third party accessories either fry iPods or are returned simply because they just don't work. By suing this third party supplier Apple could be seeking to remove some headaches from unaware consumers who buy crappy but cheap third party solutions.

kaonis92 said:

I hope Apple gets burned. The prices of its products are always insane. The European union is already trying to make a universal charger standard based on miniUSB for mobiles, something similar should be done for laptops.

ColdPreacher said:

kaonis92 said:

I hope Apple gets burned. The prices of its products are always insane. The European union is already trying to make a universal charger standard based on miniUSB for mobiles, something similar should be done for laptops.

Youre right. There should be a universal adapter for common devices.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Apple sues people on a continual basis. How is this news. lol

freedomthinker said:

Seriously does apple really so screw up in the head for money ? I know its the basis of the capitalistic system , but come on ? Suing for every little thing ?

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ok Freedomthinker, if you get a business running, and then someone gets a proffit out of it without paying you anything for the effort you made, would you be ok?

Think before you write (I mean you have a lot of time between the thinking, writting and hitting the reply button).

I still hope Apple gets burned with this =)

KG363 KG363 said:

I hate when companies overcharge for items, then sue the guys who make the same product and sell it cheaper. Its things like this that make me have no respect for Apple

ken777 said:

If you look at the patent that's linked in the article, it's for the "ornamental design" of the adapter and not some special tech. I don't really know anything about patents, but it sounds like 3rd party adapters might be ok as long as they don't look almost exactly the same as the apple one.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm fine with the clones assuming they're reliable and don't catch fire but I've seen some really bad 3rd party adapters.

Onewill said:

Does anyone have a link to more specific info on this device? I'd like to see the product itself. Counterfeiting hardware is almost worse than counterfeiting money.

Nirkon said:

I expect the revenue coming from selling power adapters alone justifies suing them...

I mean what do they expect when they sell hardware at such expensive prices,

when will it end?

saintbodhisatva said:

Sony is sort of Apple-ish with their devices too, however, so many Sony "clone" adapters are available in the marketplace some advertised as genuine, some as "third party" compatible.

Guest said:

"Ok Freedomthinker, if you get a business running, and then someone gets a proffit out of it without paying you anything for the effort you made, would you be ok?"

I'd also hate to see a mechanic get money for fixing a truck that Ford made. How dare they profit off Ford by actually working and giving a service to people that does not infringe on Ford at all?


What next, a store making a profit by selling clothes a different company made? Absurdity.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That mechanic didn't make a vehicle and then put the Ford brand on it, did he?

I invite you to register as a member to share angles on the news.

EDIT: I dialed sarcasm down a lot, be thankful and do the same, taking things out of context isn't that hard, probably should read and comment the news as is.

Basher said:

Yet another reason I don't plan on ever buying a Mac. I hate the "buy from us or buy from no one" attitude...

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

^^^ Mac has ALWAYS had that attitude. Steve Jobs has a stiff butt when it comes to his business practice. Mac just has a host of its own problems and a few more clashes of preference when it comes to their computers. One of the funnier things I noticed about their laptops was that the thinner they got, the more quirks the laptops had. For example, if the laptop gets thinner, the amount of tilt you can have with the screen decreases. So if you're a taller fellow, and you want a slim Mac, like a Mac air, you're out of luck with being able to sit with it on your lap. You'll have to hunker down just to see the screen. And worse than that, if you lifted up the Mac Air's screen from the corner? The darn screen would crack.

There's also the issue of customization with Macs. Macs are VERY hard to customize on your own. They build it with technology they deem sufficient, stick a high price tag on it just because they built it, and ship it out. And if you want a better video card than the one they give you, you'll have to either send it in, or break your warranty and try it yourself. And that's easier said than done. Just about the only things you can upgrade are the hard drive and the memory. What a joke...

Then there's the problem that Macs aren't even very easy to game on. There are Mac versions of a lot of games, sure, but Macs weren't made for gaming. They're all still really strong when it comes to art, photography, video editing, and stuff like that. There are just so many preferential things and little niggling problems that make me not want to buy a Mac. And their attitude is the icing on the cake.

manintech said:

someone in the industry should stand up and make a standard for a universal adapter. Just like most smart phones use standard mini-usb for power/data adapter, apple use their own standard for iphone, and it makes it very expensive to replace a lost cable.

levar said:

boogityboo04 said:

If they are actually counterfeit, more power to apple, but if the company is simply selling a cheap alternative to apple's overpriced hardware I really hope it gets shot down in court.

I wouldn't call they're stuff cheap alternative, I'd say its pretty decent and for it not being an Apple product but they should get shot down in court regardless ^^

Zenphic said:

Counterfeits are no cool, but 3rd party products are always a plus for consumers.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pity that the US calls this a "design patent" and not "registered design" like some other countries. This confuses things with "real" patents.

Since the US does have the design patent system, and since the company should be able to produce an Apple compatible adaptor that doesn't infringe on the design, I think that Apple has a good case.

AfricanTech said:

If it is counterfeiting, I hope they get burned out of existence. In the 3rd world we get caught with counterfeit products regularly - sold at just under the Apple premium price thus fooling people into thinking that it's genuine because the price isn't "too good to be true".

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Indeed in the case of bad parts passing as apples is no good, but according to story writer you can't find any of the so called parts apple is suing for in any of their web sites, maybe they took them down after the initial sue.

Will keep repeating the same, I hope apple gets burned for this anyhow :P

alexandrionel said:

Apple has problems when companies infringe their patents but what about when they do it? For instance the famous Iphone name is registered to another big company (it is not important who but if you are curious you ca google it).

swilllx2p said:

I would agree with a lot of you and say that I hope apple gets burnt on this...but come on really? The other company is trying to pass there stuff off as genuine apple product. Developing a third party part thats way cheaper and advertising it as a third party part is great. Trying to play it off as a apple part is just wrong and apple has every right to be upset.

As for the Ford car comparisons that went on..Can I go to a junk yard and piece together my own car from who knows what, slap on a Ford logo and sell it as such? Or say I start a buisness and manufacture my own cars brand new, make them as close to looking like fords cars as I can and then sell them saying they're Fords?

AbsolutGaloot said:

I'm sad that Apple hasn't figured out yet that their stuff is way too expensive, and instead of making it more affordable they just do crap like release a new shuffle that only can be controlled by the special in-line headphone chip, to force you to buy their $50 headphones.

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