Apple forces clone-maker to halt production

It’s amazing it’s taken this long, perhaps, but Apple has forced iPhone imitator Meizu to stop selling the iPhone lookalike M8.

The Chinese Intellectual Property Office has ordered a halt to all production and marketing of the phone, which, although it’s Android-based, bears a remarkable resemblance to the iPhone 3GS.

“Apple requested that we cease manufacturing the M8 this month, we agreed but then it came back and asked for a sales ban instead. I can cope with a production freeze, but not with having our shops closed and thus not being able to use up our inventory,” says CEO Jack Wong on the Meizu forum.

“If Apple and the provincial IPO take another insatiable step, I can only go head to head against them.”

Wong claims that while Apple may be within its rights to halt sales of the phone, it has no right to go further. “I’m not worried about lawsuits, but there is no province of intellectual property litigation law enforcement to the right of our factory closure,” he says.

Meizu’s ground may be a little shaky, as the company has boasted in the past about the similarity between the M8 and the iPhone. Indeed, it’s been producing iPhone lookalikes for three years, and has also produced MP3 players with similar designs to Apple’s. However, since then, it has altered the M8’s user interface to differentiate it a little more, and presumably thought it had successed.

The company has a new phone, the M9, planned for the end of the year, looking very different to the iPhone. However, Wong says he’s concerned that retailers will be stuck with nothing to sell in the meantime.