The discovery that some people had established fake Apple stores in China blew up on the Internet about a week ago. Now Reuters reports that one city in China has ordered the shut down of two of these fake Apple storefronts but not for the reasons that you might suspect. According to the story, the Chinese city of Kunming has closed down two of its five fake Apple stores simply because the stores didn"t have the proper business permits.
All five stores have apparently been selling real Apple products in their locations, contrary to some media reports. However these stores have not yet received an official reseller license agreement from Apple. In addition the stores have replicated the look of Apple stores and this is the main issue that has caused most of the outcry from people who have called the stores "fake." According to a spokesperson for the city of Kunming, the country of China is currently looking into whether or not Apple has applied to have its retail store"s design protected under the country"s trademark laws. If that"s the case than all of the stores could in theory be in violation. Apple currently has four official retail stores in China but none of them are located in Kunming.
The article also adds that China"s history of protecting and prosecuting trademark violations is "often spotty." Indeed the U.S. Trade Representative has listed the country as one of the worst in protecting companies for violation of their trademarks over the last several years.