Johannesburg - US technology giant Apple is allegedly threatening to sue a South African reseller of its computer products in a spat over the use of the Apple name on certain websites.
The Notebook Company said that Apple had instructed the Pretoria-based company a year ago to remove the Apple logo from its websites, notebook.co.za and laptop.co.za, under which the local firm trades online.
In the latest episode, Apple has instructed The Notebook Company via its attorneys Adams & Adams to transfer several websites, including ipad.co.za, ipad2.co.za, ipad5.co.za, ipad6.co.za, ipad7.co.za, ipad8.co.za and ipad9.co.za. The Notebook Company said it had also been instructed to transfer its applelaptop.co.za and maclaptop.co.za websites.
A spokeswoman at Adams & Adams said yesterday that the law firm had to obtain authorisation from its client in the US before it could comment to the media.
RJ van Spaandonk, the executive director of Core Group, Apple’s official distributor in South Africa, referred enquiries to the parent firm. .
In a letter to The Notebook Company from Adams & Adams, which Business Report has seen, Apple said it no longer held a reseller agreement with the South African firm and that use of the logos would “mislead the public to believe there is a connection or association” between the two.
The Notebook Company managing director Christopher Riley said: “We use the AppleLaptop.co.za website for commercial gain and we will be asking Apple if it is acceptable to them that we re-market AppleLaptop.co.za under Apple.Laptop.co.za and under Laptop.co.za/Apple.
“We also use MacLaptop.co.za for commercial gain and, again, we will also be asking Apple if it is acceptable to them that we re-market MacLaptop.co.za under Mac.Laptop.co.za and Laptop.co.za/Mac,” he said.
He added that the iPad.co.za domain was created as a blog for iPad.co.za users and was updated with the latest news regarding Apple’s iPad tablet computers.
“I understand that the iPad name is a trademark, which I have no rights over. But a site like www.iPad.co.za also lends value to Apple itself, and to the iPad community. We even offer free Yourname@iPad.co.za e-mail addresses from it,” he said.
Riley has also claimed that it was ironic that the domain name www.iPad.com had been standing “vacant” for years. “It seems odd that Apple has done nothing to secure it.
“What is also amazing to me is that I am being taken on for iPad usage and using trademarks in domain registrations, but iPadPorn.com has been happily humping along for quite some time… even though Apple has voiced publicly that it is very much against porn on its products,” he said.
“Is this actually Apple applying this pressure on The Notebook Company? Or is it really Core South Africa, the official local distributor for Apple?” Riley asked. - Business Report